FamilyLife

National Mental Health Day, how to talk about it with our children.

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

There is some great information here from Mind.

It is a good idea to keep track of your child’s wellbeing, to make sure that they are OK and that their own mental health is not being adversely affected. If you keep an eye on how they are, you will be able to notice if they are having difficulties and deal with any issues quickly.

  • Devise a simple way to check in with your child about their stress levels, eg: ‘On a scale of 1–10 how relaxed are you feeling? What is one thing that will bring that score closer to 10?’
  • Keep an eye out for changes in their behaviour, such as becoming quiet and withdrawn.
  • Notice if your child doesn’t want to participate in activities that they usually enjoy.
  • Pay attention when children become angry or aggressive; try to acknowledge their feelings and set boundaries without becoming angry back.
  • Attend parents’ evenings at school, nursery or any after-school clubs as much as possible, to find out how your child is coping; or make arrangements for a trusted relative or friend to go on your behalf.
  • Ask people you trust to also keep an eye on your child’s wellbeing; close friends and family members can let you know if your child appears different, and they may notice things you don’t.
  • If you feel concerned about your child’s mental health, you can ask your GP to assess them, or make contact with a local support organisation for young people such as Young Minds.

Think about what they need in their own lives

Helping your child to have the different things they need in order to be happy and healthy is a satisfying part of being a parent.

  • Talk to them about their experience of school, find out what they are enjoying and which aspects they are finding harder, so that you can support them with these.
  • Create a quiet and clear place at home where they can study and prioritise time each week for them to do homework.
  • Support their friendships to develop and strengthen; if you don’t feel able to have their friends around, see if you can help them to set up times where they can meet outside the home.
  • Help them take part in activities they enjoy.
  • Respect their privacy by letting them have their own space.
  • Encourage physical exercise, to let off steam and reduce anxiety or worry.

Most importantly love yourself. You are your child’s role model. They know if you don’t look after yourself and they will do the same.

Andover MInd can be found at Westbrook Close in Andover. You can visit their website for more information on mental health support, here

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