How can you support a young person? We developed the R.A.L.L.Y. approach to support a young person’s mental health illustrated in this animation.
- Recognise the signs of distress. You might notice changes in a young person’s behaviour such as withdrawal from social situations or lashing out. They may have trouble concentrating. You might spot changes in appetite, sleep or signs of self-harm. These signs are often related to underlying feelings that a young person may be finding hard to express.
- Acknowledge them and what they’re dealing with. It can be helpful to let a young person know when you’ve noticed they haven’t been behaving like themselves, or that they’re going through a difficult time.
- Listen. It is really important that young people feel that they have someone in their lives to listen to them. Try to listen more than you talk. Give the young person time to say what they need to say. Try not to be judgmental when they open up to you, no matter how tempting this may be.
- Let someone else know. If you feel unsure about how to support a young person who is struggling with their mental health, it is ok to ask for help. You may want to talk to a friend, a GP or to look at other options for support.
- Your response. It’s important to try to stay calm when a young person has opened up to you and looked for help. Be prepared to hear anything. Acknowledge the problem, but maybe focus on the young person’s strengths too.
You have the power to be a huge positive influence on the mental health of a young person in your life.
> Read more about supporting youth mental health