It is sadly no surprise that rates of mental illness and anxiety have climbed higher and higher over the past few years; our young people are facing a lot of new and unprecedented challenges, and we have a mental health care system that is struggling to keep up. In 2020, the NHS reported that in children aged 7 to 16 years, rates of probable mental disorder rose from 1 in 9 (12.1%) in 2017 to 1 in 6 (16.7%) in 2020. Young Minds also found that 83% of young people felt their mental health had become worse over the COVID-19 pandemic (Young Minds Summer Report 2020). With nearly 300,000 young people in Britain having an anxiety disorder, how can teens and their parents find ways of coping?
John Patrick Hatcher and clinical psychologist Dr Thomas McDonagh have written The Teen Anxiety Guidebook to help answer this question. Drawing on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy techniques, Jon and Dr McDonagh explain essential skills for preventing anxiety attacks, redirecting negative thought patterns, and overcoming risky behaviours such as self-harm or substance abuse.
As well as offering practical advice for coping with anxiety, The Teen Anxiety Guidebook also helps readers identify the different types of anxiety disorder, and ask themselves reflective questions to find new insight into their own anxiety. Treatment options including therapy and medication which is explained in detail, taking readers through the different types available and emphasising how important these resources can be.
The tips and strategies explained in the book are great tools that teens can keep in their arsenal of coping strategies as they grow up. Beyond that, it offers an approach to teen anxiety that empowers young people to not let anxiety power their decisions, as Jon explains:
‘Left untethered, anxiety will drive every choice and action you take… you can help beat anxiety symptoms by simply by knowing them, acknowledging them, and calling them out by name when they arise.’
The coping techniques described are essential for handling anxiety in the immediate moment, but the explanations of how to cope in the long-term are truly invaluable. Readers are shown how to manage anxiety using a range of skills, therapy, life style choices, and self-help. Whilst written to suit the teen reader and the unique challenges they face, the skills and approaches taught in this guide can be carried on through adulthood!