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How do we support youth mental health as a parent, employer, friend, or mentor?
Mental health is essential for everyone to function, and teenagers and pre-teens are no exception.
A young person needs good mental health to maintain relationships, adapt to the changes around them and handle the challenges in life.
Studies suggest that up to 20% of youth may be dealing with mental health problems at any given time, and it is incredibly important to recognize and support the youth at risk of having mental health issues.
Yet, only a small percentage of adults and employers believe that they have the resources necessary to address youth mental health challenges.
You can help support youth mental health by being supportive and forming a strong relationship with them. Let’s look at a few ways you can help young people and reduce their risk of developing larger mental health problems.
- Encourage them to be open and honest with you, and form a healthy relationship with them so that they can share their feelings without the fear of being punished. Let them know that no matter how bad things may seem, you will always stand by them without judgment.
- If they express an issue, never negate how they feel! What may seem insignificant to you may be disrupting their mental health, so it is crucial to acknowledge their emotions and make them feel heard.
- Adolescents need independence, and no teenager appreciates it when you enforce unnecessary rules. Give them enough space that they don’t feel smothered, and let them make their own decisions. Work with them to make a routine that works for both of you, including work time, homework schedules, and bedtimes.
- Recognize the signs of mental health problems, and encourage them to ask for help. If you see that your child is behaving differently or has been withdrawn lately, try to talk it out or see a mental health professional. There is no shame in seeking the help they need!
Photo credit: Pixels, Anna Shvets
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