At Valenta we support individuals in their mental health recovery. Empowering our youth to reach out and seek the required support is an important first step. The following article and poll talks about why parents may not be taking their children’s mental health as serious as they should, and how parents can be more aware and receptive. Communication is key….
By: Kieran Goodwin
“Why do young people prefer to approach friends, rather than their parents, with mental health-related issues?
From what I’ve learned about mental health in young people, and speaking with those affected, many parents don’t seem to quite understand what it’s all about. Some seem to think their children are looking for attention, while others dismiss their claims altogether. This is a big problem, and it needs to be addressed.
Parents need to understand the severity of mental health, and take it more seriously when their children approach them on such matters. It takes a lot of courage to speak to someone and ask for help.
Having recently carried out a small online poll – in which just over 250 people took part in – I asked respondents: “If you were worried about your mental health, who would be the first person you would go to?”
The final results showed 76 percent of young people would turn to the Internet for self-help, while only 16 per cent said their parents. Friends came in second at 61 percent, GP took third place – at 27 percent – and, finally, at 11 percent, the young respondents said they would speak with another family member.
So why are parents finding it so hard to understand? Is it pride? Is it because they don’t want to feel like they’ve ‘failed’ their children? Bad parenting? Let’s be honest: it’s never really anyone’s fault. Parents shouldn’t feel as if they have done something wrong. There may be an element, whereby, somehow, they’re involved with the way their child feels, but that’s okay. Parents need to talk it out, understand their children better, and just listen to them. Ultimately, the best thing you can do, as a parent, is listen and take your child seriously.
Standing with your child, supporting them through the difficult times, and researching the mental health condition will only aid the process of recovery. You can then talk about the subject in further depth with your child and meet with your GP to learn of more ways you can give support.
For any parent, having their child diagnosed with a mental health condition is hard, no matter what the severity. The facts are there; young people prefer to approach friends rather than their parents on topics relating to mental health. Communication is key in any relationship, whether that be family, marriage, or friendship.”
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We invite you to review the information on our site and please call our office so we can assist you or your loved one in recovery for life.