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    risk factors for depression and anxiety in teens

    New Study Reveals Effect of Healthy Lifestyle Risk Factors for Depression and Anxiety in Teens

    Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health issues and are often co-occurring. While they are both neurological conditions that are influenced by family history, a new study looking at behavioral risk factors of depression and anxiety in teens found that obesity, limited physical activity, and an unhealthy diet are correlated with higher rates of depression and anxiety.

    Self-Image and Self-Esteem in Teen Girls

    According to this study, they noted that girls struggling with their weight were 43% more likely to develop anxiety or depression compared to their peers. Girls are more likely to receive negative messages about their body that affect their sense of self and relationship with food; however, boys who are overweight were 33% more likely to struggle with the same issues. They discuss the role of body image and self-esteem as risk factors, but also suggest that physical health is important for emotional well being.

    Physical and Emotional Health

    While depression and anxiety are characterized by negative and ruminating thoughts and unstable moods, symptoms often manifest physically. Over time, they can lead to chronic health problems. Symptoms of depression and anxiety may include behavioral changes and changes in executive functioning, including:

    • Change in eating habits
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
    • Restlessness
    • Loss of energy
    • Frequently overwhelmed
    • Feeling angry or irritable
    • Change in grades, getting into trouble at school, or refusing to go to school
    • Withdrawing from friends and activities
    • Thoughts of suicide

    How Trails Can Help

    We believe that lifestyle changes are key for long-term success in managing depression and anxiety. Instead of focusing on specific symptoms, we look at individuals holistically and offer wellness programming to help teach students how to incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives. Our wellness program consists of mindfulness, expressive arts, yoga, experiential self-care, group wellness discussions, and culinary arts.

    The objectives of our wellness programming include:


    • Understanding the mind-body connection.
    • Encouraging self-care and positive self image.
    • Using experiential outdoor activities to build confidence and emotional strength.


    Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that helps teens ages 10-17 who are struggling with depression and anxiety. This program uses adventure-based therapy to help students gain a new sense of self-awareness, confidence, and independence. The skills they learn throughout the wilderness program offer long-term benefits towards their ability to successfully self-navigate in the real world. By removing teens from their fast-paced environment into a safe, nurturing, and peaceful environment, they are able to focus on improving and reflecting upon their behavior. Trails Carolina gives students the tools they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!


    Graham Shannonhouse

    A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13 Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.

    All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse