According to recent research, approximately 560 000 Australian Children and Adolescents have experienced a mental disorder in the past year. That is one in seven 4-17 year olds.

A whopping 65 % of teenagers have searched the internet for information on depression. And thanks to the recent ‘Young Minds Matter’ study we now know the prevalence rates of young people experiencing anxiety in Australia is 6.9%. These are fairly shocking figures right?

I am putting this information out there because I think its really important that we talk to our children about mental health. Are you one of the 45% of parents that have not spoken to their kids about mental health?  Lets not kid ourselves or our kids any longer. Mental health is a serious nationwide concern and it is affecting our young people more than we care to admit.

Talking to your young one about mental health issues can be awkward and difficult. The stigma that surrounds mental health likely adds to the difficulty parents experience but it may also be a parent’s own struggle with mental health issues which makes this topic a hard one.  Despite this being a hard one to tackle we know for certain that it’s helpful to bring it out of the shadows. Talking about mental health with our children prior to an episode of illness can be incredibly helpful in overcoming/ preventing unnecessary shame and making it easier for them to seek help early.

Don’t wait until you suspect that your child is struggling. Introduce the topic early in life, reassure your child that we all have struggles and that support is available if these struggles become too much. Doing this will create an atmosphere of open communication and acceptance.

 

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