5 tips for talking with your teen about mental health

One of five teens experiences a mental health or substance use challenge EVERY YEAR. You need to keep the lines of communication open if you’re going to be able to help.

Talking to your teen about his or her mental health or substance abuse may be even harder than opening a conversation about sex. But it’s essential you have such conversations, and on a regular basis, states Mental Health First Aid USA.

“The reality is that more than 22 percent of people between the ages of 13-18 will experience a mental health or substance use challenge every year,” writes Danielle Poole.

Poole’s five tips are straightforward, if not challenging:

  1. Be genuine. Teens can see right through an adult who is “faking it.”
  2. Be careful about using slang. Stick with language you’re comfortable using.
  3. Allow for silence.
  4. Switch up the setting. Where you have a conversation about mental health or substance use could make you or the teen you’re talking to more comfortable.
  5. Don’t trivialize their feelings.

 

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Mental Wellness

South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds works with Mental Health First Aid to train parents, afterschool programmers, educators, camp counselors, juvenile police officers, and others in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).

Free of charge, the 8-hour training focuses on being aware of early signs of concern and how to provide immediate support until professional help can be secured.

We offer a similar program for adults helping adults: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).

The following sessions are available this Winter and Spring. To register (required) or for more information, contact Donna Greene at (401) 788- 2371 or dgreene@southcountyhealth.org.

Adult Mental Health First Aid trainings

2 Thursdays, February 15 & 22, 8 am-12:30 pm: Westerly Hospital

2 Fridays, March 2 & 9, 8:00 am-12:30 pm: South County Hospital

2 Fridays, May 11 & 18, 8:00 am-12:30 pm: South County Hospital

Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings

2 Saturdays, Jan 27 & Feb 3, 8 am-12:30 pm: Westerly Hospital

2 Saturdays, March 10 & 17, 8 am-12:30 pm: Westerly Hospital

2 Saturdays, May 5 & 12, 8 am-12:30 pm: Westerly Hospital

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