by Belinda Breeze

Cheryl L Green, MD, quotes jarring statistics when discussing the current global mental health crisis among teens: in the United States, for instance, 30% of teenage girls have contemplated suicide in the past year; 24% had suicidal thoughts ‘with a plan’, which meets the criteria for in-patient admission, she explained.

“Professional help is in short supply right now because it’s such a crisis,” she said in a recent interview. “So the question becomes, how can parents help right here, right now? And there are a lot of things parents can do.”

In her critically important new book, Heal Your Daughter: How Lifestyle Psychiatry Can Save Her from Depression, Cutting, and Suicidal Thoughts, Dr Green empowers parents with lifestyle psychiatry strategies that can be used in conjunction with traditional therapies or as standalone support.

“Teen girls with depression are often overwhelmed, and are unable to help themselves”

“Lifestyle Psychiatry can supplement inpatient psychiatric treatment as usual, after they are out, but can’t replace inpatient admission if your child is truly suicidal with a plan,” Dr Green cautioned.

“It goes a long way toward preventing that from ever happening, which is critical, considering our teens have been experiencing grave problems in their mental health for over a decade, and the recent pandemic greatly deepened what was already a crisis.”

In Heal Your Daughter, Dr Green addresses the unique stress factors impacting teenage girls and gives parents or other caregivers six concrete ways to help their daughters develop health-promoting, depression-reversing habits.

She begins by explaining the new field of lifestyle psychiatry, and provides state-of-the-art, evidence-based information and guidance related to six lifestyle domains: nutrition, detoxification, exercise, sleep, emotional connectedness, and stress reduction.

“Lifestyle Psychiatry can supplement inpatient psychiatric treatment”

“The good news is that healing, even from the worst disasters of childhood and early adolescence, is possible,” Dr Green said. “The early traumas that life inflicts need not be ‘managed’ with ever-escalating doses of psychiatric medications; I believe that they actually can be healed – completely or almost completely healed. There is every reason for hope.”

Dr Green explains that the method outlined in her book doesn’t require a diagnosis. It is drug-free and affordable. And perhaps most importantly, it offers new hope to those who have given up on psychiatry and on the traditional mental health care system.

“Teen girls with depression are often overwhelmed, and are unable to help themselves,” Dr Green added. “But you, the caregiver, can help them take tiny steps in the six domains described in the book. The more tiny steps taken, the closer teen girls can come to reclaiming the foundations of their physical and mental health.”

Ultimately, Heal Your Daughter and its companion book, The Heal Your Daughter Workbook, aim to make important new contributions to society’s collective understanding and support of today’s girls.

Dr Cheryl L. Green is a lifestyle psychiatrist based in Southern California. She works at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, as well as in her own private practice. She holds degrees from Harvard University (A.B.), Princeton University (Ph.D.) and Stanford University School of Medicine (M.D.). She is board certified in Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Lifestyle Medicine. She dedicates her life to helping others to achieve vibrant physical and mental health.

To read more from Dr Cheryl L. Green