Mental health and wellbeing support for you child – Parent/Carer support guide
As parents and carers, we play an important role in teaching children and young people how to understand and manage their feelings as they grow up.
What can I do at home?
- Find time to talk, just the two of you – ‘Check in’ with them while you’re doing things together, so they get used to talking about their feelings.
- Play/exercise together – Learn new things, solve problems and express feelings without words. Exercising or going for a walk together helps release endorphins that are chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress.
- Be a role-model – Show how you cope with difficult feelings and look after yourself.
- Think about phone usage – We don’t fully understand the impact of social media on our mental health but using phones and tablets can impact on our sleep, which is important for our mental health. We are also more likely to listen more if we are not distracted by technology.
- Let them know that struggling sometimes is normal and nothing to be ashamed of – Tell them about the mental health spectrum and that we all, including ourselves, go up and down the scale throughout our lives. Reassure them that talking about difficult feelings with the people we trust is a brave thing to do.
Does my child or young person need mental health support?
It’s normal to feel angry, sad, worried or stressed sometimes. However, if they’re struggling to cope with those feelings, they might need support.
Look out for:
- Sudden changes in behaviour
- Negative thoughts and low self-esteem
- Arguing and fighting
- Sleep problems
- Avoiding school or staying with you all the time
- Aches and pains
Remember – everyone is different and these signs might not have anything to do with a mental health problem.
Children and young people can be affected by big changes like:
- The COVID-19 pandemic
- Death or illness in the family
- Parents separating
- Moving school or moving house
- Tests, assessments and exams
- Adolescence and puberty
- Relationship and friendship problems
Where can I get more information and support?
- Mental health and wellbeing signposting. More information can be found here.
- Ask your child to speak with their tutor, Head of Year or any other member of staff they feel comfortable speaking with.
- If their life is in immediate danger, call 999.