I Don’t Know How Much My Child Is Struggling with Mental Health, and I Am Not Sure How to Help?
October 31, 2023
Supporting a child’s mental health can be a challenging and sensitive task, especially when you’re uncertain about the extent of their struggles. Here are some steps you can take to assess your child’s mental health and provide support:
  1. Open and Non-Judgmental Communication: Encourage open dialogue with your child. Create a safe space for them to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or criticism. Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to what they have to say.

  2. Observe Changes in Behaviour: Pay attention to any significant changes in your child’s behaviour, emotions, or routines. These could include sudden mood swings, withdrawal from social activities, changes in sleep or appetite, academic struggles, or expressions of hopelessness.

  3. Educate Yourself: Learn about common signs and symptoms of mental health issues in children and adolescents. This knowledge can help you recognize potential warning signs.

  4. Consult with Professionals: If you’re unsure about your child’s mental health or if you suspect they may be struggling, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional, such as a doctor or therapist. They can assess your child and provide guidance.

  5. Talk to Teachers and School Counsellors: Reach out to your child’s teachers and school counsellors to gather additional insights. They may have noticed changes in your child’s behaviour or academic performance.

  6. Promote Healthy Habits: Encourage your child to maintain a balanced lifestyle by focusing on proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. These factors can significantly impact mental health.

  7. Reduce Stress: Create a low-stress and supportive home environment. Be mindful of family stressors and try to minimize their impact on your child.

  8. Set Realistic Expectations: Avoid putting excessive pressure on your child academically or in extracurricular activities. Make sure they have downtime to relax and pursue their interests.

  9. Supportive Network: Ensure that your child has a supportive network of friends and family. Encourage them to spend time with peers who have a positive influence.

  10. Seek Professional Help: If you believe your child is dealing with a significant mental health issue, such as depression, anxiety, or other conditions, consult with a mental health professional for an assessment and guidance on appropriate interventions.

  11. Avoid Stigmatizing Language: Be cautious about the language you use when discussing mental health. Avoid stigmatizing terms and emphasize that seeking help for mental health is as important as seeking help for physical health.

  12. Promote Self-Care: Teach your child self-care strategies, such as mindfulness, relaxation techniques, tapping and stress management. These skills can empower them to cope with difficult emotions.

  13. Be Patient: Recovery and improvement in mental health may take time. Be patient and understanding, and continue to offer your support.

Remember that every child is unique, and the approach to helping them will vary based on their individual needs and circumstances. Your child’s well-being is a top priority, so don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance when necessary. It’s crucial to act early and provide a loving, supportive environment to help your child through their mental health challenges. If you would like to get in touch to see how we can best support your child’s wellbeing you can contact www.oktalk.co.uk. Find more information about young person counselling on https://oktalk.co.uk/private-wellbeing/services-private/young-people-counselling/