- Research reveals that mental health conditions in children and adolescents are on the rise.
- Experts recommend ways to talk about mental health with your kids.
The Mental Health Landscape
In the post-pandemic period, mental health cases amongst children and teenagers are on the rise. Studies show that around 15.4% of children had one or more mental health diagnoses in the last decade. Amongst adolescents and young adults, mental disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders are on the rise.
Considering this situation, medical communities worldwide have voiced concerns about the burgeoning mental health crisis in the younger sections of the population. To them, parents successfully talking to children about their mental health and helping them avail professional mental healthcare is more pertinent than ever.
Striking Up The “Mental Health Conversation”
As earlier studies have established, positive parenting is a sure way of staying involved in your children’s lives and ensuring that they enjoy sound mental and physical health. Parents employ tactics like asking a child about his/her day or friends, but these may not provide effective insight into children’s thoughts and feelings.
More often than not, children and adolescents internalize their mental health problems and avoid talking face-to-face with their parents. Added to this is the stigmatization of mental health—which often makes it difficult for children to open up about their problems.
Because of this, experts advise parents talking to kids about mental illnesses to couple such conversational sessions with ‘interactive’ activities like:
- Going on a walk
- Going for a drive
- Pet therapy
- Yoga classes
- Art classes
- Maintaining gratitude lists
Speaking on the benefits of such parent-child interactions, Lana Stenner, a motivational speaker and author, elaborated: “Finding those common moments and comfort allows them to open up and trust you with what’s going on in their life.”
Ways To Talk About Mental Health With Your Kids
Consider the following measures while talking about mental illness with your child:
- Be attentive and always scan for signs of distressing behavior in your children.
- Do not pry with your queries. Instead, allow them to open up.
- Have an open, loving, and non-judgmental conversation with your children.
- Be supportive and understanding.
- Do not intimidate them with your advice or interpretations of their lives.
- Consider mental healthcare treatment options like counseling, therapy, and group support.
- Assist them in developing healthy self-help coping strategies.
- Help them recover at their own pace.
As a parent, you must remember that mental health conversations can go a long way in ensuring your children’s health and happiness. Sometimes, such conversations are life-saving conversations and can benefit not just you and your children but also their peers and their families.
Know More About –
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder (Depression)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) In Children