- Psychological Issues
In Australia we are fortunate that most of our children and young people enjoy good health. However, mental health problems are not uncommon in people under the age of 25 years. Some of these problems may be relatively mild and short-lived and others may cause considerable distress to children, young people and their families over a longer period of time.
children and young people may be affected by depression and anxiety, challenging and disruptive behaviours, eating disorders, psychosis and self-harming behaviour. They may also have difficulty adjusting to an illness or loss in the family. mental health problems are manageable. You can assist your child or young family member to live a happy, fulfilling life by encouraging them to talk about and work through these problems.
This brochure will help you to become aware of the warning signs, the importance of early help seeking and the ways you can help support your child.
parenting and being part of a family are very important to the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. You may not realise it, but you are already protecting your children’s mental health and wellbeing just by:
Helping children and young people who have an emotional or mental health problemstarts with listening. Acceptance and belonging are very important. Encourage your children to talk to someone they trust and be ready to listen yourself, but do not force them to talk. Praise and notice their achievements, especially small ones, and avoid criticising and pointing out shortcomings. Try to work out when your children need space and when they would benefit from company, and do things with them that they enjoy. Don’t forget to care for yourself and ask for help when you need it.
If a young person is receiving professional help for an emotional or mental health problem you can still play a critical role in their recovery. To help a young person at such a time, let them know you care about their wellbeing and are there to support them.
Create a calm atmosphere at home and reduce family conflict, provide healthy food, encourage your children to do things they enjoy and remove possible means of selfharm. Some young people will refuse all help or will not acknowledge they have a problem. If so, you should seek advice and assistance on your own. If the situation seems serious, seek help promptly. This could mean breaking a confidence but it is sometimes necessary.
Parents and other family members are often the first to notice changes but may find it difficult to talk about them. They may also be embarrassed about seeking help or not know where to go for help. Instead they may decide to wait, hoping that problems will sort themselves out. But for most mental health problems, seeking early help has the best results. If you are unsure about your child’s health, it is best to seek professional advice. As a first step, you may prefer to talk to someone you trust such as your general practitioner, someone in your local community health centre, your child’s teacher, school counsellor, or your religious adviser. Effective help for children and teenagers generally involves short-term counselling or therapies. These are usually based in the local community with as little disruption to school and family life as possible.
The following are some signs of mental health problems in children and young people. If they last more than a few weeks, it may be time to seek professional help.
If children or young people have persistent thoughts about hurting themselves or wanting to die, they need urgent professional help.
In an emergency contact:
Other places to go to for help include:
Remember your State Health Department can also help with information on the services available in your area.
© Commonwealth of Australia