Talking to your kids about mental health doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re not sure how to start the conversation about mental health with your child, or what you should say, we have a few suggestions.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Mental Health
Shannon Trewartha, ATR-BC, LPC Clinician, has a few tips when it comes to talking to your child about their mental health, including:
- Make your child comfortable enough to open up
- Be prepared to potentially hear some things you aren’t ready to hear, or that might make you feel uncomfortable or triggered
- Know that it’s ok if you’re uncomfortable with something your child tells you. You can let them know that you are uncomfortable – in a way that is nonjudgmental, and that shows them that you will be there to support them
- Use your own personal stories and experiences to show them that they’re not the only one who sometimes feels confused, distressed, or embarrassed, or that doesn’t understand their own feelings. Let them know that other people go through the same thing.
- Encourage them to problem-solve, find resources, and to turn to you for help.
Talking to Our Kids About Mental Health is Critically Important
Talking to our children about mental health can be scary, especially if your child is younger, but it’s critically important. In 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 14. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation – It could save their life.
Let your child know that mental health is just as important as physical health and that, while they are ultimately responsible for understanding and caring for their own mental health, you are there for them – to listen, teach and guide them.
Related: Making Prevention Part of the Family
Western Tidewater CSB is Your Local Authority on Mental Health
Need some help? We provide our community members with accessible, affordable and compassionate mental health services, including specialized mental health counseling for children and teens, Functional Family Therapy, and mentoring for youth.
If your child is having suicidal thoughts or experiencing another mental health crisis, get in touch with the Region Five Crisis Call Center right away at 757-656-7755.
To hear the rest of the tips and specific examples on how to talk to your child about their mental health, watch the video.