Rooted Teens: Local Mom Creates App to Help Teen Girls Prioritize Mental Health - MetroFamily Magazine
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Rooted Teens: Local Mom Creates App to Help Teen Girls Prioritize Mental Health

by Erin Page

Reading Time: 4 minutes 

Local life coach, counselor and mom Angie May works with a variety of individuals and organizations to inspire healing and balance through prioritizing mental health care. She is well-versed in crisis mental health situations and has a master’s degree in Christian counseling in substance abuse and addictive disorders, but her primary career focus is on preventative mindfulness and mental health awareness.

Whether through visits to a therapist or a life coach, Angie encourages parents to provide their teens a trusted, unbiased, professional outlet to learn to prioritize and care for their mental health from a young age. Like she strives to do with her own kids, Angie wants counseling, therapy and mentoring to be normalized so kids grow up knowing it’s OK to struggle and ask for help and to continually practice coping strategies and good mental health habits.

“Anything we are working on to create a habit or to reinforce, you aren’t going to draw on that tool in crisis,” said Angie. “The only way to draw on it is if you’ve practiced it outside of crisis.”

As the rates of anxiety and depression for tweens and teens continues to rise, Angie receives frequent requests to mentor, coach and counsel this age group. She was hired by a charter school in Arizona to provide group coaching to leadership students, and the experience was so beneficial and well-received that the principal requested ongoing sessions. After seeing success with this group of students, Angie started to wonder what group coaching for teens could look like on a larger scale.

“We’re always in this intervention crisis mode in mental health,” said Angie. “Why are we living in this space when we don’t have to? We can live in the preventative space — and that’s where mentorship and coaching come in.”

After much consideration, Angie determined the best way to meet teens where they are — on their phones — was to create an app. By providing content and coaching to give them a firm foundation in prioritizing their mental health, Angie’s new app, Rooted, focuses on building confidence, good decision-making skills and healthy mindsets. Currently the app and content are specific to girls, but Angie hopes as the organization grows and adds male certified life coaches that they will eventually add content and coaching for boys.

In the midst of common teen challenges like situational anxiety, performance stress, academic and sports pressure, pushing boundaries at home and navigating social difficulties with their peers, girls receive encouragement, accountability and normalization that they aren’t alone and can develop healthy habits to deal with life’s hard moments. They are also supported in establishing a strong sense of self, naming their personal morals and values and determining their version of success for their futures.

Each month the app’s content focuses on a theme through weekly lessons, emotion trackers and challenges. Teens get daily reminders to track their emotions to help them learn to notice and name how they are feeling. They also get notifications to make use of the weekly lesson content to help them form healthy habits.

Using her background and belief in cognitive behavior therapy, Angie develops the majority of the content for the app herself with the goal to help teens — and their parents — discover the motivations behind their behavior and use those discoveries to make positive changes.

“A lot of parents are saying they are having defiance or behavioral issues,” said Angie. “That’s a good place to start but we have to go deeper. Ask: ‘what is causing them to act this way?’ If we don’t teach kids to change the way they think, their behavior is just a byproduct.”

The month of July focused on mindfulness and stillness. The monthly challenge was fasting from social media usage in places and at times that teens are prone to check their phones — like in the car, during meals and before bedtime.

“We were creating a mindfulness space and teaching the brain that it doesn’t always have to be in go mode,” said Angie. “We know that’s when the brain becomes anxious — so we are teaching how to be still and quiet and create those spaces for calmness.”

August’s theme is building strong friendships, and app users are learning what healthy friendships look like, red flags to be aware of and how to develop relationships that aren’t manipulative or self-serving as they return to the classroom.

Rooted users can also add group coaching to their experience. Girls are grouped according to their age and placed with a certified life coach for bi-weekly calls and conversation that reinforce the lessons on the app. With her expertise in counseling, Angie is available and ready to act if group members indicate or show signs through coaching sessions or emotion trackers that they need additional or more intensive help.

Communities, churches, sports teams and schools can also make use of the app. Instead of being paired with one of Rooted’s coaches, a basketball coach or church youth leader might use the app for their teen team members and provide the bi-weekly calls and lesson reinforcement.

“We’re seeing a trend for groups that are already established that want to use the app and content,” said Angie. “Let’s say a basketball team wanted to use the app on their own. The coach can see how they are tracking emotionally and how they are doing with challenges. They can also create their own challenges as it relates to the support and what their athletes are struggling with.”

Parents can also follow along with the content each month to practice the mindfulness exercises and coping strategies themselves and to spark meaningful conversation with their teens. Plus, parents can download the app and log in to their child’s account to access their child’s emotion tracker.

“We encourage parents to do that, not in a secretive way, but to create communication and conversation,” said Angie. “Maybe it’s just that you’ll have the mindfulness that your child is struggling and plan some time together.”

 

Learn more about the Rooted app at rootedteens.com, find the app for $4.99 per month in the App Store by searching Rooted Teens and use the discount code METROFAM10 for 10 percent off.

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