When Trusted Adults think about keeping young people safe and healthy, what usually comes to mind is nutrition, sleep, or physical activity. Mental health can sometimes be overlooked, especially since young people don’t always know how to communicate their feelings or emotions in a way that is understandable for adults. Learning how to talk to young people about mental health and managing emotions can help them become responsible adults, have healthier relationships, make healthier choices, and prevent suicide.
September is Suicide Prevention Month
Make an effort to talk to the young people in your life about taking care of their mental health. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Communicate in a straightforward manner.
- Communicate at a level that is appropriate to a child’s age and development level. For example, young kids might benefit from learning how to identify different emotions whereas older kids are able to understand things such as depression and anxiety.
- Have the discussion when the child feels safe and comfortable.
- Listen when young people have questions or concerns or want to share their own thoughts.
For more resources about suicide prevention and how to talk to youth about mental health, visit the links below:
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Talking to Kids About Mental Illness
- Mental Health America: Talking to Adolescents and Teens—Starting the Conversation
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Teens and Suicide—What Parents Should Know
- American Psychological Association: Talking to Teens—Suicide Prevention
- Michigan Health: How to Talk to Children and Teens About Suicide—A Guide for Parents