You should talk to your kids about mental illness. Here’s how.

Posted on November 14, 2015

Photo source: Flickr

If you’re a parent and you or another family member has experienced mental health concerns, you probably have felt unsure about how to talk with your children about this issue. Should you discuss it at all? If you do, what should you say?

Your first reaction may be to avoid talking with your children about mental illness, because you might be afraid it will scare or upset them. However, when you talk openly about these issues, it can reassure your kids and help them learn to cope better because they will have a greater understanding of what the person with the mental illness is going through. Also, increased awareness can lead to greater compassion and can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

When you do decide to open the door to a conversation with your kids about mental illness, here are several important points that can help you manage this situation more easily and with greater confidence.

1. Cover the Basics
It’s often helpful to start with some simple facts about mental illnesses and to dispel some of the common myths surrounding them. For example:

• Mental illnesses are “real” illnesses, just like diabetes or epilepsy.
• Mental illnesses are very common; 1 out of every 4 adults will have one.
• It’s okay to talk about having a mental illness; it doesn’t have to be a secret.
• There are very effective treatments for mental illnesses.
• People with mental illnesses can and do get better.

David Susman elaborates on the following points:
2. Providing reassurance
3. Keep the child's age and level of maturity in mind
4. Make sure your kids feel safe and secure
5. [What to do] if things become difficult


Follow the link below to read about these in full.


Category(s):Mental Health in Asia, Parenting

Source material from David Susman


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