Through my positions as a youth with lived experience in the child and youth mental health world and advocating over the years, I have been asked by several parents how to talk to their children who are struggling. I can’t imagine what its like to be a parent of a child with mental health struggles, but I do know what it’s like to be on the other end of it. I’d like to think that I’ve grown and matured enough to have some kind of an idea of how to help them, but the truth is, its hard. And what works for one child and parent is not necessarily going to work for the next. There are however a few common parent-child situations that I hear most often, that I feel I can comment about.
Obviously the advice in here is based on my own life and the stories I personally hear from youth, parents and professionals, and by no means do I believe that this even begins to cover the vast spectrum of family dynamics or mental illness.
When your child says that they are experiencing something, believe them. And by “believe them” I don’t just mean silently believe them while telling them that they’ll be fine. No child or person wants to feel depressed, or