The Youth Mental Health Crisis: 3 Ways to Support Your Child’s Well-Being
Poor mental health in youth is becoming a worsening situation in America. When we look back on our adolescent days, many of us probably still remember the mood swings and whirlwind of emotions that took place during puberty. Thankfully, the bad days always ended, just as the mood swings always passed. But now the problem is, a growing number of kids—more than 1 in 3 high school students—are reporting persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Your adolescent years are supposed to shape and prepare you for healthy adulthood, so it’s critical that we support and protect our youth’s mental health now. Supporting a child’s mental health helps them:
● Build fulfilling bonds and relationships
● Adapt to change
● Successfully navigate life’s challenges
● Use healthy coping mechanisms
● Have their needs met
● Realize their potential
When youth experience mental health illnesses, it can take a toll on their grades, social life, and overall well-being. And now, with COVID-19 disrupting the normality of teens’ lives globally, the likelihood of mental health issues among youth has increased.
Fortunately, schools, parents, and health care providers can help youth develop good mental health through programming, education, and lots of support.
So if you’re a parent reading this article, here are three ways you can start to support your children’s mental health today:
Encourage them to share their feelings in a healthy way.
As a parent, you can increase your chances of catching your child’s slipping mental health by offering them opportunities to talk about their feelings. You must give your child a safe space to discuss what’s on their mind and help them work through their emotions.
You never know how a few words of encouragement or telling your child that you’re there for them can make a difference in their comfortability in sharing with you, so don’t be afraid to try more than once.
Go out of your way to uplift them.
A little validation goes a long way, so don’t forget to take the time to tell your child that you love and support them. Letting your child know that they are loved will increase their feelings of security and safety at home, and there’s no such thing as too much positive feedback.
Introduce them to healthy coping mechanisms.
Kids don’t have to learn stress management through trial and error. Parents can help them through it! Teach your children healthy ways to handle life challenges like mindfulness, physical activity, and even art. That way, even when you’re not around, you can feel rest assured that your child can take care of their wellbeing.
All children will experience the ups and downs of development, but it’s up to the adults around them to ensure that their mental health is protected in the process. The mental health crisis among youth is a problem that we can tackle with increased awareness and support. For more resources on youth mental health, you can learn more here.