As a parent, supporting your child or teenager through mental health challenges can seem overwhelming. Many parents find themselves wondering – What do I do now? Who can help me?
What’s best for my child?
It’s good to know you’re not alone.
The Department of Health recently published a report on one of the largest national surveys ever taken on the mental health of young people. They asked parents what they found hard about getting help for their children and teens. One of the biggest worries parents had was not knowing where to turn.
So, how can you get help for your child?
1. Visit your doctor
GP’s and paediatricians are trained in recognising common mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and substance use problems. Not only can your doctor give you advice on how to cope with some of these challenges, they can also refer you to a mental health professional in your area for more support if needed.
2. Find a mental health professional
Mental health professionals are experts trained in treating mental health challenges, and include psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, and others. These professionals will speak with you and your child to find out what challenges they are facing, help you to set a goal for therapy, create a personalised treatment plan, and monitor how therapy is going.
3. Talk to friends and family about how they accessed help
Asking your friends or family members about how they accessed help for their kids can be a great starting point. Our loved ones can point us towards people, services, and resources that helped them support their kids through a difficult period. You might even find that having a conversation with another parent going through similar struggles can help you feel more supported and less overwhelmed.
4. Get some tips online
If you want the best advice on the net – go straight to the experts. Websites like beyondblue.org.au, mindhealthconnect.org.au, and headspace.org.au are full of helpful strategies, resources, and information for parents and young people with mental health challenges.
5. Book an appointment with the school guidance counsellor
School guidance counsellors are another great starting point to get help for your child or teen. These counsellors may already have a relationship with your kid and can help them get support straight away, in the familiar school environment. They can also provide added support for school-related issues and can communicate with teaching staff to help your teen achieve in the classroom.
6. Log into therapy
Parents and young people can access evidence-based support from the home computer. Computer-based therapy programs are now available to help young people manage anxiety, depression, mood problems, and odd experiences, as well as build resilience, study skills, and much more.
What about #6: Log into therapy? Have you ever heard about logging into therapy as a way to get help for your child?
Even though we’re all pretty switched on when it comes to technology, most parents don’t know that Australia has access to some of the best computer-based therapies for young people in the world.
A team of researchers at Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland are trying hard to fix this. Their first challenge is to find out what parents think about computer-based therapies.
What do you think about using technology in therapy? Have you ever heard of a computer-based therapy program? Do you think they could help your kid? Why did you choose face-to-face therapy instead? We want your answers!
Want to find out more about the Department of Health report? Go to: