Looking Out For Our Kids Mental Development
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and that means looking out for our kids mental development too. Mental health in childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems.
Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies
We want our kids to be healthy and have strong bodies, but sometimes we may put more emphasis on their physical activities and strengthening than looking out for our kids mental development needs. Far too many young people are struggling with their mental health and unable to get the support they need. We all have a role to play in supporting youth mental health and creating a world where young people thrive.
Actionable Steps We Can Take
Here are actionable steps we can all take - young to old - to help:
What young people can do:
- Remember that mental health challenges are real, common, and treatable.
- Ask for help.
- Reach out to a friend in need.
- Build and maintain healthy relationships.
- Learn and practice techniques to manage stress and other difficult emotions.
- Take care of your body and mind.
- Be intentional about your use of social media, video games, and other technologies.
What family and caregivers can do:
- Be the best role model you can be for young people by taking care of your own mental and physical health, and seeking help for yourself when you need it.
- Help children and youth develop strong, safe, and stable relationships with you and other supportive adults.
- Do your best to provide children and youth with a supportive, stable, and predictable home and neighborhood environment.
- Look out for warning signs of distress, and seek help when needed.
- Minimize children’s access to means of self-harm, including firearms and prescription medications.
- Be attentive to how children and youth spend time online.
Maintaining healthy children and families requires all of society—including policy, institutional, and individual changes in how we view and prioritize mental health. Let’s all do our part and help spread the news about mental awareness in our kids!
Article source and resources: https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/priorities/youth-mental-health/index.html