The conversation about mental health can be intimidating for some parents. Worrying about your children is natural and every parent wants their children to have peace of mind. Luckily, educating your children about mental health is a lifelong lesson you can begin now. By sharing resources, building their support system, and setting a good example, you can be confident you are setting your kids up for positive mental health awareness.
Setting a Good Example
Kids learn best when they learn from your example. You are much more likely to make an impact on your kids’ mental health if they see you working on yourself, asking for help, and doing your best when challenges arise. Creating a strong fitness routine and sharing your love of healthy food are both great places to begin if you want your kids to be excited about taking care of themselves. By being open about talking through mental health challenges and working hard to build a healthy lifestyle, you can teach your kids the foundations of good mental health.
Set an example for your children by:
- Telling them about your therapy appointments and how they help you
- Going for long walks together in the sun
- Taking them grocery shopping or preparing healthy meals together
- Meditating and deep breathing when you feel overwhelmed
Educating your children with mental health resources gives them a place to go when they need help. Doing research together shows you care and also sets your child up with the ability to do this on their own one day. Taking the time to explain different mental health issues and resources can inspire your kids to ask for help when they need it, rather than feeling stuck. Just like they know to call 9-1-1 in an emergency, they’ll know where to turn when their mental health needs extra care.
Educate your children by:
- Sharing hotlines and helplines for mental health emergencies
- Explaining holistic approaches to treating addiction and other disorders
- Taking them to a psychologist proactively
- Explaining recovery and support groups that build community
Building a Support System
Children always feel less alone when life gets hard if they feel supported by their community. Actively building your children’s support system reminds them that they have options to learn more and ask for help. Children may not already know who to turn to in an emergency or when a certain mental health concern feels like a struggle for them. Support systems are crucial, especially to mental health concerns, so be proactive and explain your kids’ options when they are old enough to understand. Remind them that it is okay to ask for help, and show them how.
People in your children’s support system include:
- Family, friends
- Support groups
- Teachers, coaches, religious leaders
It can be daunting to worry about your child’s mental health, but you can take these easy steps to build their awareness and resources. By reminding them they are fully supported and have places to go for help if they need it, you can be confident that you’ve set them up for a healthy and happy life.
About the author:
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. Learn more at patrickbaileys.com