From 9 – 16 October it is Mental Health Week and Carers Week and this year’s theme emphasises how life-long mental health starts in childhood. If you support a child or teenager with emotional difficulties or mental health challenges, we may be able to help you as the parent or as a carer. Please keep an eye out for free activities and events across the country this week where you can learn more about staying mentally healthy and providing support for your children.
The theme of Carers Week this year is ‘Millions of Reasons to Care’ which aims to bring attention to the 2.65 million carers in Australia who provide outstanding care and support to their loved ones. Given how critical the early years are for lifelong brain development and functioning, learning, and wellbeing, the theme for Mental Health Week 2021 is ‘Mental health starts with our children”.
Change Their Story
Life-long mental health starts in childhood. Maybe you notice your child is struggling with expressing their emotions or making friends. Maybe you notice your child’s behaviour has changed or has become difficult. Seeking support at an early stage is called early intervention and can prevent bigger problems later in life.
You as a parent may not know that support is available or be able to provide the specific support that would help your child. At HelpingMinds we run early intervention workshops during the school holidays. We also deliver tailored programs for students and parents at primary and secondary schools.
Change Your Talk
How we talk to our children affects their brain development, self-image, and confidence. You can help your kids by changing your language and praising positive behaviour instead of focussing on what they lack and still need to learn.
You can help change their story.
Change Your Story
If your parents had unhealthy parenting methods, you may be passing these on unknowingly. The good news, you can change your children’s story by changing your own.
A cycle-breaker is someone in your family who:
- Recognises coping mechanisms that are no longer helpful
- Recognises dysfunctional behaviour in themselves and changes it
- Recognises unhealthy familial patterns and chooses not to repeat them
Break the cycle of trauma by seeking mental health support when you feel stressed or overwhelmed so that you can teach your child healthy coping mechanisms and strategies. Adult counselling and support groups for parents can help.
Change Your Support
What you learn as a child stays with you for life. And if a child has an emotional breakdown or is experiencing anxiety for instance, how we respond as adults has a big impact and can stay with the child for the duration of their life.
Youth Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches people who work with young people how to respond (instead of reacting) to a mental health episode. Our team at HelpingMinds can come to your sports club, community group or school to facilitate this course to teachers and parents so they learn helpful skills.
Learn more here about the course https://helpingminds.org.au/mental-health-first-aid-perth/ or call HelpingMinds on (08)9427 7100.