Mental health is an important topic that affects everyone, including teenagers. As a parent, it’s crucial to have an open and supportive dialogue with your teen about mental health and to help them understand the importance of taking care of their emotional well-being. But starting this conversation can be daunting, and many parents may not know where to begin.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips and strategies for how to talk to your teen about mental health in a non-judgmental and supportive way.
Approaching the Topic of Mental Health
It’s important to approach the topic of mental health in a way that doesn’t make your teen feel uncomfortable or defensive. Start by letting your teen know that you care about their well-being and that it’s normal to experience a range of emotions. Avoid using stigmatizing language or negative stereotypes about mental health conditions. Instead, encourage your teen to express their feelings openly and honestly.
Starting the Conversation
To start the conversation about mental health, consider using open-ended questions that encourage your teen to share their thoughts and feelings. Ask questions such as “How are you feeling today?” or “What’s been on your mind lately?” Active listening is also an important part of starting the conversation, so be sure to give your teen your undivided attention and avoid interrupting or judging their responses.
Create a Comfortable and Safe Environment
It’s important to create a supportive environment where your teen feels comfortable talking about mental health. Let them know that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Engage in an enjoyable activity while talking to your teen. Avoid assuming that the car is the best place to talk, as your teen may use it to decompress. These conversations can be tough, so breaking the tension can help. walk can also be effective because it reduces stress. Also, provide them with resources such as books, articles, or websites that they can explore on their own.
Don’t Be Pushy
Respect your teen’s boundaries and don’t be pushy. Keep checking in and stay curious. Don’t try to prove you know they’re struggling, it may backfire. Allow your teen time to relax if they’ve had a difficult day before offering to listen without judgment or offering solutions.
Encouraging Healthy Habits
In addition to talking about mental health, it’s important to encourage healthy habits that promote emotional well-being. Encourage your teen to engage in physical activity, such as going for a walk or participating in a sport they enjoy. Help them to build healthy relationships with family and friends. Encourage them to engage in activities that they find enjoyable and relaxing.
As summer vacation approaches, now is the perfect time to consider addressing your teen’s mental health needs. At Clear, we recognize the unique stressors that young people of today face— from living in the digital world to struggling with social pressure and identity. To create the highest potential for success, Clear’s primary mental health teen outpatient program offers clinical, medical, and experiential therapies, including art, music, mindfulness, and writing, and helps teens ages 13-17 develop healthy relationships as part of their recovery.
For more information about our teen mental health treatment program or to schedule a psychological evaluation, call 877.799.1985 to speak with a member of our care team.