MH5- Supporting a Child's Mental Health
How to Approach Mental Health Issues
Create a safe, positive home
Be aware of your child’s media use, how much time they are spending watching TV, playing video games or on the internet. It's helpful to be aware who they are in contact with online.
Be careful when discussing serious family issues such as marital issues, finances, or illness as this can increase children’s stress.
Make time for family time, physical activity, and play.
Be a role model for your child by talking about your feelings and making time for things you enjoy to help your mental health.
In stressful times help them solve problems
Prompt them for ideas of answers or plans to improve the problem, while also not taking over and giving them the answers.
Teach your child how to relax when they feel upset. Coping tools could be taking a walk, doing something they enjoy that is quiet and will relax them, or deep breathing.
How to support a child who is struggling with their mental health
Build meaningful connections by letting them know you are on their side. Try to see where they are coming from and realize their struggles and how hard it can be.
Listen and respect their feelings. Confirm and display empathy with how they feel. Let them know it’s okay to feel sad or angry and encourage them to talk about how they feel. Help your child find someone they are okay with talking to if they don’t feel like talking to you just yet.
Remind them of their strengths:
a) When a child is feeling down it is important to remind them of what they are good at. The child then can focus on what they are good at rather than struggles in the classroom.
b) Remind them of your support in helping them strengthen their work in the classroom.
When and where to get help
It is important to seek expert advice if you have been noticing the behaviours mentioned for a while, or it is affecting their ability to function. You can get help and support from your family physician, teachers, and school counselors.
Caring for Kids. (2017, May). Your child's mental health. Retrieved from https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/mental_health