Family Conversations To Have This World Mental Health Week

World Mental Health Week will be taking place from the 7th until the 13th October this year; with October 10th marking World Mental Health Day. This annual initiative is dedicated to worldwide mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

Did you know…

1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness, yet many don’t seek help because of stigma?

Mental health is the number 1 reason people go to the GP

Mental health conditions are a leading cause of illness and disability in Australia.

Mental health can be a challenging subject to broach with young people because it has a social stigma attached to it. It can also be difficult to see or even properly define mental health problems. World Mental Health Week represents a global effort to reduce that stigma and enhance awareness so that questions such as ‘R U OK? or Do You See What I See?’ become more commonplace within our society.

World mental health week is an ideal time for families to have conversations about mental health and wellbeing. The Australian mental health organisation, Beyond Blue, gives the following tips for starting a conversation about mental health:

Create an environment where your child feels they can open up, and be sure to give them space to talk. Start off by saying something along the lines of:

  • “I’ve noticed that you seem sad/distant/not yourself. I’m concerned. Can we talk about what’s been bothering you?”

  • “You haven’t been acting like yourself lately. Let’s talk about what’s going on.”

  • “Do you have any questions about mental health that you would like to ask me?”

They then advise that, when a young person begins to shares their feelings, you should…

  • be an attentive listener: sit in a relaxed position and use appropriate eye contact
    ask open-ended questions

  • acknowledge their feelings: try not to minimise or down-play how a young person may be feeling

  • avoid immediately giving advice: be calm and let them do the talking

  • try to keep your reactions in check: if your child gets a judgmental, critical, shocked or angry response from you, they’ll be much less likely to come to you with issues in the future

  • remind them that they’re not alone: let them know that you’re there to support and help in any and every way that you can

World Mental Health Day & Mental Health Australia:

Mental Health Coalition:

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