There’s no way to sugarcoat a teen’s journey into adulthood. Stress has always been a natural side effect of being a teenager, however in today’s world, there are many more factors contributing to their anxieties.

Aside from raging hormones, watching their bodies change, dealing with trying to fit in, bullying and schoolwork pressures, teens are also dealing with technology and the addictions that come with it, cyber-bullying and social media.

There is stress and then there is depression that we are seeing an increase in teens across the country. Depression is defined as a “mental and emotional disorder that can cause persistent feelings of sadness and lack of interest in activities, which can affect your teens daily thoughts and behaviors” according to organizations that help struggling teens.

Getting teens outdoors is vital in lowering rates of depression. A study from Temple University and the University of Tennessee, followed urban-teens for a period of two years, and found those who spent more time in natural green spaces had lower stress levels, as long as the areas were not near the teen’s home. “Green Space Therapy” is even being used as an alternative treatment for children with ADHD.

Parents, it’s time for teens to stop staring at their screens and get out to see more green. Your encouragement is necessary and there are many ways to accomplish this task.

Creating family activities that are outdoors, such as biking, hiking and playing sports, are great solutions for getting your teen outside and has several benefits for everyone involved. Taking the time out of our busy schedules to spend time with our teens, who also have busy schedules, leads to teens feeling valued and cherished, and promotes family bonding.

According to the National Center Biotechnology Information, vitamin D has been reported as an important factor that may have significant health benefits in the prevention and the treatment of many chronic illnesses, including depression. Those with depression have been found to have insufficient levels of vitamin D, so getting your teens exposed to sunshine is a necessity.

If you notice changes in your teen’s behavior and habits, pay attention, as it may be more than just typical teen stress. Sources tell us that about one out of eight adolescents have teen depression and only one in five receive the help they need. If left untreated, teens will exhibit negative behaviors as a coping method, such as substance abuse and bad choices in friends and relationships.

Supporting your teen through the tough years they are experiencing is extremely important. It’s easy to get angry at your teen for their difficult behavior and give numerous speeches about right and wrong, however sometimes, listening is the answer.

Remember to get your kids (and yourself), out of the house and off the phones as often as possible. Use this time to plan fun family activities, make memories together and soak in some much needed vitamin D.