Many news outlets are reporting a global mental health epidemic among young adults. While the reason for the surge is not apparent, some postulate the increase is due to people being more open to admitting mental health issues. Others suggest the cause is the various aspects of the faster-paced lives we live. Whatever the reason, it is important that parents and guardians teach children about the signs and strategies to deal with mental health issues. Like any illness, the earlier a mental health issue is identified and treated, the better the outcome will be. It is essential to foster a safe and open line of communication at a young age.
Talking About It
Start discussions about feelings and emotions at an early age. Make the time to listen to your child. Your child should feel safe to discuss his or her feelings and concerns with you. As a child matures, take the time to discuss various mental health topics openly. More than likely, there will be concrete examples among the child’s friends or family. If not, there are plenty of news topics that can be discussed. Be sure to be gentle when approaching these topics, but do not completely shield your child from troubling news.
You Shouldn’t Ignore It
Teach your child that a mental health issue is like any other health issue, and it needs to be addressed to get better. If you think your child has a potential mental health issue, work with him or her to see if you can resolve it together. For instance, there are several simple techniques to ground anxiety, which can help kids who feel momentarily overwhelmed. Give your children the tools to deal with everyday stress. If the issue is not improving, or if the problem seems like it might be more serious, then seek outside help. Do not let any sense of stigma stop you from involving others. If your child is reluctant to engage outside help, do your best to ease his or her worries by discussing it. If the issue is getting out of hand, take a firm but compassionate stance to get the help your child needs.
You’re Not Alone
Help your child understand that no matter how major or minor a mental health issue is, he or she is not alone. Many people have the same issue, and many have found ways to lead full and fulfilling lives. Encourage a wide range of healthy social connections. Do your best to remove any stigma in your child’s mind about seeking professional help.
Mental health issues can be as devastating to individuals and families as any other serious health issue. Teach your children to understand the signs of mental health issues. Also, teach them to seek help when necessary. It’s better to teach your child how to deal with mental health early on to prevent problems later in life.