How to Talk about Mental Health with Kids

How to Talk about Mental Health with Kids

The year 2020 has been an eye opener to every human on the planet including the one’s who felt nothing could have affected them, but have been vulnerable. This pandemic has highlighted the  fact it is better to be open about mental health not only with adults but kids too whether or not they or any close relation suffers from mental health problems.

Research has highlighted one in four of us will be affected at some point of our lifespan so why not talk about the real issues with our child. So how can we Talk about Mental Health with Kids ??

Start with the Basics

Communicate the idea just as our body can fall sick, so can our brain. It’s important we don’t feel the stigma attached to it and treat it how we would treat a fever or a migraine.

The idea is to create a normalcy around mental illness and help children process it as a common thing that can happen to anyone

Be honest in letting them know the facts

Use the correct terminologies addressing the issue like depression, bipolar etc . If kids have question, be honest in informing the facts depending upon how much can they understand. Never lie or have layers to what you say. You don’t need to keep secrets around it. If you don’t know some answers, accept it and tell them to help you find the same together

Talk at the right Moments

Talking about mental health issues could be overwhelming for a child, hence it is important to talk at child’s pace and not overthrowing bundle of information on them. Check on the understanding level of your child and converse in moments when they are calm, peaceful and ready to  dissipate the information. 

Check on when they would prefer to communicate, would they like to talk about it openly or would prefer you to give them a document to read Or would they prefer to talk over their favourite TV show or simply on the dinner table. If they wish  to talk to some one else show them the trust you can connect with to an adult whom they are comfortable talking like their grandparents etc

Use Stories to communicate

Story telling can be an effective way to explore difficult topics and undoubtedly mental health currently is one of them. There are various books being published by psychologist and more and it can be an beautiful way to touch upon the subject. Some books like the big bag of worries, Ruby’s Worries, How not to lose it can be great starters. For elder kids, one can give reference of their favourite artist or celebrities who had to go through mental issues 

Talk about their fears and worries

A lot of questions may pop up during this process including the fear of unknown. It thereby becomes important for us parents to reassure our child

It’s important you debark the myths associated regarding mental health problems like this can be contagious disease or you were responsible for your dear ones condition. Rather give reassurance that mental illness can happen to anyone and can be treated.

Help your network

Growing number of youth specially the teenagers in our current era are going through mental issues for varied reasons. It’s time we teach our children to offer their ears and connect with their friends and extended network by offering a space of comfort to communicate problems one is facing.

Sending a text message “Hey how you doing, i am here to talk anything you have in your mind”. Simple message like this can be an ice breaker and may help the person to open up and talk about his underlying issues. Imagine talking to a teenager who is going through a mental hardship can be such a relief. 

Personally I feel, mental health should be addressed in schools too. It is important to train teachers in supporting children facing mental illness. It is the need of the hour to break the stigma attached to it and start our talks about mental health with kids.

This blog is a part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter‘ 

Image courtesy : freepik

25 thoughts on “How to Talk about Mental Health with Kids”

  • I really like the idea of using story telling art to convey kids important lessons about mental health. indeed during this era, it is very important to make our kids mentally strong. making good communication and understanding about their feelings and emotions are must to keep them educated about different aspects of mental health.

      • Everyone don’t understand how important is mental health for kids. Everyone things what stress or worry a kid can face but it’s not true . I will keep all this point in mind.

        • Very helpful tips! Speaking to kids and making them aware of mental health is very important. Just like adults, kids also face problems and they should be made aware of the term and also they need to know that you are there to listen to them when in need!

  • It is essential to let our kids know what mental health is and how important it is to take care of mental health. This can give a generation that is aware and can eradicate the taboo in the long run.

  • Mental health talks with kids is definitely important and being a parent I know how much I wld like my kids to know about this topic so that they can communicate openly and also help out their friends in need.

  • Mental health of the kids is an important topic to discuss as kids undergo lots of emotions and are unaware how to express them. Yur post is very helpful for the parents to start with this talk.

  • Communicating with kids is easier when we use a light tone and use stories to put forward our point. It is important that they realise their emotions and are comfortable in sharing them with parents and elders.

  • We all talk about mental health as grown ups, but at times we forget that it is important to introduce the concept to kids as well. Emotional and mental wellness is equally important for kids.

  • It is an essential part of the child’s growing up phase and can be quite challenging for a parent to convey properly. Very nice article.

  • This is such an important topic o be discussed with our young kids especially at a time of extensive social media exposure. Mental health should be treated equally as physical health.

  • Agreed that mental health should be talked about but at what age? I think kids below 12 wont be able to comprehend it. Most teenagers are stressed these days and schools should have someone kids can talk to about it.

  • Good tips and ways. Learning about mental health illnesses will leave a positive impact on the students struggling: they’ll learn about therapy and how to treat their problem. they’ll be more ready to talk about it. they’ll acknowledge that they have a problem.

  • Mental health is most important for kids ..and you have penned found most important and easy ways to deal with it

  • The way I talk about mental health with my children is by sharing real life examples and anecdotes. I feel children relate to examples better. In today’s time parents need to be more like friends and less like guardians.

  • It is very important to talk to kids especially if they are teenagers. Talking reduces the distance and they open up. True completely.

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