Talking to a child about their mental health can be a difficult subject to raise. A lot of the time, a child may be too young to understand why they might be feeling a certain way or why they might be experiencing different emotions compared to their friends. It can be quite scary for them as well. With the help of Mind, we’ve compiled some tips to help you talk to a child about their mental health in the best way.
Start a conversation
Starting a conversation about their mental health shows the child that it is okay to talk about how you’re feeling. Being honest about your own mental health can also help a child open up if they feel the same way. For a child that might be too young to understand their feelings, try to be open and available to answer any questions they might have.
Check and check again
Once you’ve established that your child might not be feeling like their usual self, you should keep a record of their emotional well-being going forward. You can do this by keeping an eye out for unusual behaviour and talking to them regularly about how they are feeling. A simple way of doing this is to offer them a scale question, for example: “on a scale of 1 – 10, how sad are you feeling?”
Establish what they need
If a child is struggling, establish what they might need in order to make things easier. To do this, you can talk about what they may or may not enjoy at school and whether any stress can be eliminated from this. You can also get involved with the activities they enjoy doing and supporting any friendships they have. You should also always remember to respect their privacy if they need their own space.
It can be hard to talk to a child about their mental well-being. If you feel like you need more help, there are plenty of useful contacts you can use or you can talk to a GP. Always remember that your mental health is a priority too, so make sure you’re looking after yourself as well.