Are you concerned about your child’s mental health?

Firstly, what are the signs you should look out for to tell if your child could be suffering;

Obviously every child is different and signs can vary immensely but you should be aware of any change in behaviour such as;

  • Sleeping problems or lethargy.
  • Avoidance of places or situations.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Negative outlook on things (including themselves).
  • Becoming withdrawn or shutting themselves away.
  • Overreacting in situations.
  • Changes in performance at school .
  • General unhappiness or irritability.
  • Crying easily.
  • Changes in eating habits.

Most youths will experience some of the above at some time or another .  These signs do not automatically mean your child has a mental health disorder. You know your child better than anyone. But if you think there is a problem you are probably right.

What to do!

Firstly, our children learn from us, so setting a good example is a priority.

By looking after your own mental health you are teaching them to do the same;

  • Teach yourself the relaxation exercise:   https://nopanic.org.uk/body-scan-relaxation/
  • Practice mindfulness/meditation;    https://nopanic.org.uk/a-moment-of-mindfulness-video/
  • Eat a varied healthy diet and drink at least 2 litres of water each day. 
  • Keep a good bedtime routine.                                               
  • Exercise regularly.                                                                        
  • Be grateful.
  • Make time for personal hobbies and pastimes.
  • Take time to talk and listen to each other.
  • Create a positive home life.

Set time aside each day (maybe around the dinner table) to chat with your child about all topics, let them take the lead, listen to what they are saying, be interested, respect their opinions. Encourage conversation about all matters. This is ideally done on a one-to-one basis but strong family bonding can also provide security.

Teach your child that all problems have solutions. Show them how to solve issues that arise without giving them all the answers, but leading them in the right direction to find the answers themselves.

Let your child know how proud you are of them and love them no matter what. Help build their self-esteem.

Let your child know that anger, unhappiness and other negative emotions are normal it is how we handle them that is important. Talking about how we feel is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary it takes strength. Teach them how to communicate.

Recovery Plan for youths.

Sometimes the young cannot express exactly they are feeling.  It isn’t easy to put anxiety into words. Which is why it is important to be patient and listen. If to begin with talking face to face is just not possible, try sending a text message, for example; ‘I know something is wrong, I love you and I want to help, what can I do?’

Never ridicule your child by saying things like ‘don’t worry about that, it’s silly’ or ‘that’s never going to happen’.  What they are feeling is very real and obviously causing them to be very anxious. Instead say things like ‘what do you think we can do together to make this situation better?’ or ‘you are not alone, many others feel the same as you do.’

How can we help you both?

Our Youth Mentoring scheme is done on the telephone or online during a 6 week period. It teaches learning/coping skills, exposure to fears, goal setting and all the tools and life-skills needed to manage/overcome anxiety and panic.

You can telephone our Youth Helpline on 0330 606 1174 if you would like to chat to someone or why not take a look at the https://nopanic.org.uk/youth-hub/

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