5. Seek support

You may need to seek support from a healthcare professional when a young person in your life appears to be struggling with their mental health for a period of time. Remember we all will experience different levels mental health throughout our lifetime, and it’s important to seek help and support sooner rather than later.

6. Encourage involvement

Encourage your young person to get involved in clubs, sports, groups, and activities that are of interest to them. Being part of a community, contributing, and being involved with others will all help to encourage good mental health and self-confidence in young people. Allow them to explore and find the activities and interests that are meaningful to them personally.

7. Encourage exercise and play

Our mental and physical health are closely linked. It is important for young people to get regular exercise and to stay active. Young people may find they enjoy playing a certain sport, walking, running, swimming, and many other forms of play and exercise.

8. Don’t avoid difficult conversations

It can be tempting to avoid the difficult conversations, to say nothing and to hope it will all blow over. It is important that we don’t avoid or ignore the signs if we think a young person may be struggling. If you notice a change in a young person’s behaviour, ask them about it in a calm and supportive way. Some parents find young people are more likely to open up when they are doing an activity together.

9. Don’t panic

Stay calm and curious when a young person opens up to you. A young person may reveal that they are experiencing bullying, experimenting with a new activity/behaviour or even disclose self-harm. Help the young person to feel safe and supported while also accessing the correct supports for them.

Remain calm, open to hearing more, and stable. This will help to keep the conversation open, and will give you chance to find out more about what is happening for the young person.

10. Seek your own supports

We are better able to provide good quality care and support for a young person in our lives when we feel supported ourselves. Finding ways to mind your own mental health will help you to mind the mental health of a young person.