Mental Health. It seems like we can’t go a day without hearing these two words in everything from the local news to national politics – which means the times may be a changing because for centuries it has been taboo to talk about this topic.
And this time of change is right. Especially if you have an adolescent.
It’s not easy growing into an adult – it never has been. But when we pair the natural physical growing pains with man-made challenges such as social media, bullying, and low self-esteem, the stress of adolescence can lead to dangerous consequences if we aren’t mindful.
While it may seem overwhelming and even improbable to understand your adolescent’s mental health, now is the time to make clear what your family’s perspective is on a healthy mental state and how you are going to work together to keep it optimal.
What can you do?
Schedule Yearly or Bi-Yearly Mental Health Check-Ups
You know that physical that you schedule for your child each year with your pediatrician? Complement it with a mental health check-up with a professional counselor or therapist around the same time. In this way we do one simple thing: normalize it.
It’s vital that we not only have our children’s physical well-being examined, but also their mental well-beings. By scheduling these check-ups yearly whether there is something bothering them or not (that they have told you about, anyways), mental health can become normalized. This means counseling will hopefully not be thought of as something negative, but rather a positive outlet for anything that needs to be talked about.
Ensure the professional you select checks in with such questions to your child as:
– how are you sleeping?
– how is your mood?
– are you experiencing any bullying?
– how do you feel about your social media accounts?
– how are your friendships?
– how is your relationship with your family?
Make these appointments a positive opportunity for your child to privately share any troubles they are suﬀering from in a safe environment where they do not have to be embarrassed or ashamed. If the professional feels there are concerns, make sure to schedule follow-up appointments to support your child’s journey through this tough time.
If your child understands that mental health is taken as seriously as physical health in your family, they may begin to see the importance of taking care of both their mind and body in a positive light.
Find a Mentor and/or Activity
Does your adolescent find it hard to talk to you? Do you find it hard to talk to your adolescent? That’s okay – it’s completely normal.
However, even though it may be common not to talk to a parent doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have any other adult they can confide in or a safe environment to share what they are feeling.
Kids can be stressed, anxious, and confused about many things they are trying to figure out as they grow into adults. Having a mentor to look up to, ask questions to, and just confide in if needed can make a significant impact.
In addition to neighbors, family members, organizational leaders, and community members, there are also many younger professional counselors that understand and connect with today’s youth generation well because they experienced it more recently.
And while just talking to someone else can have a major impact on helping kids work through issues, don’t feel that that is the only option.
We encourage families to look into creative mental health therapies such as, but not limited to:
– equine therapy
– yoga and meditation therapy
– play therapy
Please contact our oﬃce at (303) 688-6698 for additional information on these or other counseling options!
Make Support for Mental Health Healing Not Threatening
If you’ve ever caught yourself wanting to say (or saying), “If you don’t talk to me [or change this behavior] then you are going to see a therapist [doctor, counselor, etc.],” you have probably found yourself at your wits end.
When we are at this stressful place, we can say things that make getting help for mental health seem like a bad thing – even a punishment for not behaving better. And what can this lead to? Adolescents feeling ashamed and guilty for being who they are and what they are dealing with.
The next time you find yourself upset enough to want to say this, take a deep breath and try showing compassion to your child by oﬀering 2-3 options for professional guidance they can select from. Explain that you are here to help them find healing, peace, and happiness and will do whatever you can to support them through this time.
Changing the concept of talking about mental health as being a disease to one of needing support can be hard at first – especially after experiencing the prohibited talk of it from when we were kids.
However, by talking about it openly, calmly, and positively, we can begin to change the conversation to one of healing and hope.
Are you or your kids suﬀering from mental health challenges that you are having trouble addressing and/or getting help for?
If you and your family live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, or the Greater Denver Metro area and know that it’s time for a positive holistic approach to your family’s mental health, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to discuss what you are going through.
There is nothing wrong with you or your family for seeking support. There’s actually something quite right.