Mental health struggles are unfortunately common in teens, making up 16% of disease and injuries in people aged 10 to 19. Mental health issues start from around 14 years of age and often go undiagnosed and untreated. Suicide and depression are some of the leading causes of death among teens and can even lead to other struggles such as substance abuse in later years.
As parents and carers, there are ways we can support our children to give them the best chance to stay mentally healthy. Encouraging and guiding a child to think about their own mental health and wellbeing are vital skills you can teach them from a young age.
We also need to acknowledge that people are less likely to receive help due to the stigma associated with mental health. Therefore, finding out how you can help a child to have good mental health, including knowing how to talk to a child about their mental health, and when to spot signs that they might be struggling is key.
There are informational and helpful materials on this topic available across various platforms but here are just a few that you may find helpful:
- The health benefits of self-care are many, but the most important one is that practicing self-care leads to relief from stress, which we all need. When you are your best self, you can share that with your family. Therefore, an important first step is getting self-care tips for you, to help you look after your mental health while caring for others and find out how to get more support if you, your child, or your family need it. What helpful coping methods do you adopt as part of your Self-Care? Read these Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself | Psychology Today tips to see if they’ll help take care of you.
- Do you have access to mental healthcare apps or wellbeing apps either standalone, through your Employee Assistance Programme or any other employee benefits? Are you utilising them and could your children benefit from them too? If you don’t have access to a wellbeing app through your employer, then you may want to look at My Possible Self: The Mental Health App, that’s been created in partnership with world leaders in mental health and clinically certified content from Priory Healthcare using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It’s free to download giving you access to mood insights and a resource library with videos i.e. mindfulness, strength, stretch, yoga etc, articles around money worries, 5 top tips for coping with panic attacks, and perinatal mental health.
- Tellmi – Tellmi is a safe, anonymous app where you can talk about absolutely anything and is loved by young people aged between 11-25. Their moderators check everything to keep them safe and their in-house counsellors are always on hand if they need extra support. Endorsed by the NHS and CAMHS clinicians, Tellmi data insights help the NHS, local authorities, and the education sector to provide better, more targeted support to the young people in their care.
- Many Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) will provide counselling and support services to someone over the age of 16 within the workplace but not to an employee’s dependants under the age of 18. However, they will speak with the parent to offer support and guidance relating to their family.
- YoungMinds | Mental Health Charity For Children And Young People is one of the UK’s leading charities fighting for children and young people’s mental health,
- NSPCC | The UK children’s charity | NSPCC another UK leading children’s charity that have been looking out for children for over 130 years. You may also be interested to read Child mental health: recognising and responding to issues | NSPCC Learning
- You can also check with your children’s school to see if they offer parent learning sessions such as understanding the adolescent brain or understanding children’s mental health.