Just like adults, children experience rough patches with their mental health. Parents can play a key role in helping children identify how they're feeling and offer practical strategies to deal with things like stress. The simple act of talking about a problem to someone is a helpful strategy. Meditation and outdoor time might also help.
Any change in your child’s behaviour might warrant a check in on how they’re going. Asking simple questions like ‘is everything okay’, or ‘is there anything you want to talk about’, can lead to a conversation revealing issues you never knew existed – this can be effective with younger children.
For older children, it can sometimes be difficult to engage them in direct conversation. I often suggest to parents to go for a drive or a walk with their child – you get the alone time you need, but without as much direct eye contact. This can take the pressure off your child, often making them more likely to open up about their troubles.
If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health – no matter their age – you can always book an appointment with a GP. We'll often try to talk to adolescents alone with consent, and we can refer you to a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist if necessary.