As we observe World Mental Health Day 2023, it’s crucial to spotlight an essential message - “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right.” This mantra is profoundly relevant for our children and young people who navigate through a complex, ever-changing world.
The Right Support
Children and young people require the right tools, support, and understanding to foster their mental health, allowing them to lead fulfilling, resilient lives. As parents and carers, our role is pivotal in providing a supportive environment, recognising signs of mental distress, and taking necessary actions to ensure their mental well-being.
Begin with fostering an atmosphere where open conversations about feelings, thoughts, and worries are encouraged. It’s vital for children to feel safe expressing themselves without the fear of judgement or dismissal. Encourage dialogues around mental health, making it a regular part of your discussions, thereby normalising it and eliminating associated stigmas.
Listen attentively when your child chooses to open up. Acknowledge their feelings without immediately jumping to solutions or dismissals. Sometimes, the act of being heard can be incredibly validating and healing for a young person grappling with complex emotions.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Healthy physical habits often translate to improved mental health. Ensure your child is engaged in physical activity, is getting adequate sleep, and is maintaining a balanced diet. These foundational habits often create a positive impact on their mental health.
Seek Professional Support
If you notice signs of severe anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues in your child, don’t hesitate to seek professional support. Early intervention can be crucial, and a healthcare provider can offer valuable insights and assistance.
Be a Role Model
Children often learn by observing the adults in their lives. Demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms, a balanced lifestyle, and a positive attitude towards mental health. Your approach towards your mental health serves as a blueprint for your child.
Engage in their world
Understand the pressures and stresses your child might be facing, be it in school, social circles, or even online. Engaging in their world provides you with insights and offers them a reliable support system.
Resource and Help
For more comprehensive guidance and support, the Mental Health Foundation offers a wealth of resources and information to assist parents and carers in navigating the mental health landscape with their children.
As we commemorate World Mental Health Day, let’s renew our commitment as parents and carers to actively participate in safeguarding and nurturing our children's mental health, advocating for their right to access support, care, and education pertaining to their mental well-being. Because mental health is indeed a universal human right.