Mental health concerns have no age requirements. Over the past ten years, the number of mental health issues has been steadily growing in adolescents and young adults with social media notably being one culprit behind the uptick. Recent studies have discovered an increase in mood disorders amongst these younger age groups, with wealthy, young females one of the main groups afflicted.
Having open communication with your children about mental health is critical in detecting the signs of a mental health concern. Just speaking openly about mental health in general and creating strong and nurturing relationships with your children can make the difference to prevent extreme distress during traumatic times. By knowing how to navigate the delicate conversations surrounding mental health, you can help your children better understand and handle their feelings and emotions.
Ask the Right Questions
Through observing your child’s behaviors and engaging them in honest dialogue, you can spot warning signs they may be struggling with their mental health. Asking open-ended questions like “Who are your friends? What do you do to play with them at recess?” or “Do you have any problems paying attention at school?” can help you get an idea if anxiety or depression may be affecting them. Beginning this sort of conversation with anecdotes from your day can help make them feel safer to open up to you. Other good questions to ask to look for signs of anxiety, depression, or bullying in your child include:
- “Has anything been worrying you?”
- “Have you seen kids get bullied at school? How often does it happen?”
- “Do you feel good? Are you having headaches or stomach aches?”
- “Have you been sleeping well and falling asleep easily?”
- “Have you been feeling sad? Do you know what could be bothering you?”
Be Their Emotional Role Model
Being an emotional role model to your kids may sound hard because maybe you struggle with extreme anxiety yourself. However, since children naturally look to their parents for emotional cues, you must be transparent about any of your struggles to help destigmatize mental health and share with them what you do to manage your situation. Whether it’s by doing daily yoga or speaking to a therapist that helps keep your anxiety in check, then share this with them and encourage them to ask questions. If they share that they are experiencing issues of their own, brainstorm together what they can do that might help.
Speaking honestly with your kids about mental health can help you catch the warning signs they might be struggling and in need of some guidance for how best to manage it. Asking open-ended questions about their feelings and initiating honest dialogue about mental health and your experiences with it are simple ways to shift the stigma of mental health and move towards a happier and healthier family. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, contact Avalon Malibu. Avalon provides individuals with the treatment and support they need for overcoming their mental health challenges. Call us at (844) 857-5992 to hear how we can walk with you on this journey to better health.