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From TikTok to table talk: helping youth develop healthy self-expression

Teen social media trends vividly tell the story of disrupted life with destructive behaviors splashed on social media. As more in-person activities resume, these are reminders that some youth continue to struggle with self-expression.

Anxiety and depression have risen among adolescents along with self-harming behaviors in recent years. There have been more incidents of destroying or defacing property, punching walls, and attempts to self-injure.

“Emotional regulation is a learned skill that needs practice,” said Rosecrance Central Illinois Executive Director Melissa Pappas. “Youth have experienced new, uncomfortable emotions that they don’t know how to express yet, and that fight-or-flight response tends to come out inappropriately at times.”

To encourage a positive self-understanding of feelings, Pappas encourages parents to help youth maintain a healthy routine and find hobbies to explore. In addition, adults can create safe spaces for communication such as weekly movie nights or family diners.

Rosecrance develops socioemotional abilities through individual and group counseling that expose youth to practical skills and healthy recreational activities they can use the rest of their lives.

To learn more about how Rosecrance Central Illinois is helping teens build resilience and healthy self-expression, please contact: Matt Hawkins at Rosecrance Health Network by calling 815-387-5634 (office) or emailing

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