The importance of starting the conversation about mental health at a young age.

Mental health awareness is important for everyone to know because it will affect us in many ways throughout
our lives. Starting the conversation at a young age will allow children to be handle their emotions better and
mental health issues easier.


Many parents have the belief that they shouldn’t talk to their children about mental health issues, to protect
them from stress and confusion. But if there is no conversation, then how can they be able to deal with
difficult emotions?


The Good Childhood report 2021 by The Children Society found in the UK 7% of 10–15 year old's
(estimated 306,000) children aren’t happy with their lives.


Why talk about mental health at a young age?


Talking and starting that conversation about mental health at a young age will help children know how they
can deal with mental health struggles they may face throughout their life and it can even help them
support others struggling.


Suzie Graizer is a psychological well-being practitioner for children, who works with the early mild to
moderate stages of common mental health difficulties.


She supports starting the conversation on mental health at a young age, “The earlier we start having those conversations about feeling scared, nervous and worried, the easier it is for children to understand that it’s normal and to pick up on positive helpful coping strategies”.


​Supporting a child struggling and what to do


It is very important to support and help a child when they are mentally struggling. They may not fully understand them self, what is going on and what they can do to make them feel better. As a parent or carer, teaching and making children aware of their feelings, is the first step to help support them get through it.


If you speak openly about how you are feeling, even the not so nice stuff to talk about, this will encourage the child to open up about how they are feeling. It can help make them aware that how they are feeling is okay and that they don’t need to hide it.


Suzie advises parents to try not to avoid things, “Try and encourage them to face their fears in the nicest, gentleness way”.


She warned that once you stop facing them and keep avoiding things, it just makes that fear grow. It's important to be patient and give the child the opportunities to talk openly about how they are feeling. Suzie advises parents to step back and listen, rather than jumping in and giving answers, “Instead of telling them what they should do, ask them questions about what they can do, what the options are, what they think might happen”.


It is important that they can think about their feelings and understand what can work for them. As one might work for one person and not work for another. Everyone is different.


Talk openly about your own struggles. This can help them learn from your own struggles and understand it.


Suzie talked about the importance of openness of mental health with children, “Start talking about anxiety and low mood generally, it models positive coping strategies that they can learn from, rather than picking up signs that something is wrong, but they don’t know what it is and why”.


By supporting and making children aware of their mental health, this will make them more aware about their feelings and be able to handle and deal with their emotions better.


Suzie has her own independent mental health support called Thinkwise, which, “Aims to help children and families get the support they need when they need it and provide quality mental health therapy at an affordable price”.


If you want to know more about the support Suzie offers, visit www.thinkwisepwp.com.

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