World Mental Health Day happens on 10 October every year to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. This year, the day focuses on the mental health of children and young people.
Teenage years are commonly acknowledged as a difficult time in people’s lives. From hormonal changes to new schools, navigating new friendships and social networks to exam pressures; young people are contending with a raft of life changes, leaving them vulnerable to feelings of apprehension or stress.
With half of all mental illness beginning by the age of 14, and suicide being the second leading cause of death among those aged between 15 and 29, it is important that we help young people to build their mental resilience to meet the challenges of the modern world.
Kath Davies, director of children and young people’s services at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust said “Parenting is one of the hardest tasks we do but there are many ways parents and carers can support their children to help develop their emotional resilience including letting them know you are proud of them, praising them when they do well and encouraging them to do new things.
“If you are worried about your child’s emotional health or behaviour, try and find a quiet time to talk with them about this; listen and give them an opportunity to let you know what they might be worrying about and what they think might be helpful for them.
“You can also talk to your GP, local child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) team or your child’s school, who will be able to help you decide what support may be most helpful for you and your child.”
Take a look at Kath’s top tips for developing children’s emotional resilience:
- Spend one-on-one time with them
- Encourage and support them to try new things outside their comfort zone
- Resist the urge to fix their problems – help and support them to find their own solutions
- Acknowledge their emotions and reassure them that it’s okay to feel that way
- Remind them that feelings are temporary and will soon pass
- Let them know everyone makes mistakes and that’s fine
- Help them to see the bright side in situations
- Support them to make and maintain friendships
- Encourage them to help others
- Maintain a daily routine but factor in time for unorganised fun and relaxation
- Have a healthy lifestyle
- Keep expectations reasonable (theirs and yours)
- Nurture a positive self-image
- Teach them that change can be positive
- Set an example – show them that you are resilient.
Other available support
Parents and carers in Teesside and County Durham can also access free introductory mental health training to help them identify signs and symptoms of common childhood mental health conditions and strategies for managing these. Training is also available for those who work with children and young people.
The Trust has also recently expanded it’s child and adolescent crisis home resolution teams to cover all localities including North Yorkshire and York and Selby.
These teams can support young people up to the age of 18 who are referred to their local CAMHS service following an episode of self-harm, acute and overwhelming emotional distress or who are displaying high levels of risk taking behaviour which require immediate support in the community.
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