Mental Health is something my family talks about a LOT. But, it definitely wasn’t always that way. When I was in early high school my sister experienced a really challenging time for her mental health. My parents have shared with us that at the time they were unaware of warning signs to look out for, how to communicate well with her and what they could actually do to help when they realized she was struggling.
What my parents initially thought was my sister ‘just being a teenager’ ended up being a lot more serious. Knowing what to look out for can make a huge difference. The main thing to look for in your young person is a sudden and ongoing change from the way they usually behave and feel.
Your youth may have:
- have trouble falling or staying asleep, or complain of restless, unsatisfying sleep
- be tired, grumpy, irritable, tearful or upset most of the time
- feel restless or on edge
- lose interest in things they used to enjoy, and have trouble starting and completing assignments or work
- be forgetful, lose concentration and be easily distracted
- become withdrawn and lose friends
- either refuse to eat or eat a lot, and either lose or gain weight quickly
- have tense or sore muscles
- complain of feeling physically awful, with unexplained aches and pains, and not want to go to school/work.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Have you noticed a change in their behaviour?
- Is this behaviour occurring frequently?
- Has this been going on for more than two weeks?
- Are these changes affecting their day to day life (e.g. school, work, relationships)?
These quick questions can give you an indication of how worried you need to be. The more you answer ‘yes’, the more you need to consider discussing these changes with your young person and/or a health professional.
This information has been taken from the Beyond Blue website. There you can find heaps more amazing resources that can help you grow in your understanding of Mental Health and how you can best support your teen.
I am so thankful for the professional help our family was able to receive and the conversations we can now have about Mental Health. My prayer is that the information in these parent’s blogs on Mental Health will equip you for if you ever face the kind of challenges my family did.
Trainee Youth Minister