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Warning signs that your child needs extra support
Here are some factors that might indicate they need extra support right now:
Not acting like themselves
Changes in sleeping or eating
Avoiding people or social situations they used to enjoy
More emotional than usual - anger, worry, sadness and crying
They aren't performing as well at school as they used to
Lacking energy or motivation to do everyday tasks
Drug and alcohol use
Feeling hopeless about the future
What parents can do at home
It's ok to feel stuck or confused about how to help at times.
The good news is that there are a few small, yet powerful, things you can do to help:
- Learn more – find out about mental health by researching online, books, and talking to experts.
- Don't be afraid to have the conversation – choose a quiet place and a time where you're both relaxed. Try and ask, "Is there anything you wanted to talk about? You haven't really seemed yourself lately."
- Keep in mind that fear of being judged or treated differently can stop kids opening up at first.
- Kids may find it difficult to find the words to express how they feel. Be patient and encouraging.
- If they aren't ready to talk things through it’s ok. Try not to push.
- Take their feelings seriously; if your child shares that things aren't ok, get professional support – especially if your child talks about feeling hopeless and/or thoughts of suicide.
It's distressing to know your child struggles with mental health, and is likely to have an impact on you.
You're not expected to be their counsellor or to know exactly what to do. Reaching out for professional support is important for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your child.
Here are some more counselling and crisis support options:
Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people up to the age of 25)
Call the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 (for people over the age of 15)
Make an appointment to see a GP, psychologist or counsellor
Give Parentline a call in your local State or Territory
Find more digital services and resources at Head to Health
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