This month, in recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness, we’d like to provide tips for parents to help keep their kids mentally and emotionally well.
It is easy for parents to identify their child’s physical needs: nutritious food, warm clothes when it’s cold, bedtime at a reasonable hour. However, your child’s mental and emotional needs may not be as obvious. Good mental health allows children to think clearly, develop socially and learn new skills. Additionally, good friends and encouraging words from adults are all important for helping children develop self-confidence, high self-esteem, and a healthy emotional outlook on life.
Did you know more than half of teens with untreated mental conditions drop out of school.
- Listen to your teenager – let him talk out his problems with you before jumping in with a solution. Teens need adults to believe in them unconditionally and expect them to succeed.
- Encourage your teenager to get involved in activities that engage her with the community in a positive way. For some this may be sports or drama, for others it may involve tutoring younger kids or volunteering in the community.
- Set clear expectations that you want to know where your teen is and when he’ll be back. Discuss with him the consequences of the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Let your teen know that it’s okay to seek help from a peer helper, counselor, health care professional, or trusted adult, if needed.
- Encourage your teen to explore solutions. In many cases, she will know about the solutions – for example, extra help after school – but may need your encouragement to try them.
For even the healthiest kids, experiencing challenges is unavoidable, and can put young people at risk for substance use, worsening mental health, or other conditions. However, coming through these challenges with the aid of adult support, whether a young person struggles with mental health concerns or not, can be an excellent way of building resiliency and mental toughness for the future.
Did you know 1 in 5 young people suffer from a mental illness, that’s 20 percent of our population.
Even though May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage parents to check in on a regular basis with their kids. Having a month dedicated to raising awareness for mental health is wonderful, but it’s a conversation that shouldn’t end June 1st.