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Strategies for Parents and Caregivers to Support Children’s Mental Health

May 18, 2022

This May, Dee Norton is sharing strategies for parents and caregivers to promote positive mental health among themselves, their children and their families during Mental Health Awareness Month.

Concerns of mental health declines among youth are a rapidly growing issue in our society. According to the CDC, more than one in three high school students reported they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year. One in six youth reported recently making a suicide plan. In addition, children and teens who have experienced abuse and trauma are at an increased risk of experiencing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and behavior problems.

“We often spend time thinking about our children’s physical health, but their mental wellbeing is just as important. At Dee Norton, we recognize that stress and trauma are cumulative, meaning that ongoing layered stressors, like the pandemic, make overcoming stress and trauma more difficult,” says Beverly Hutchison, Executive Director at Dee Norton. “Early intervention when it comes to mental health is key. We can better equip and protect our children when we create an environment that encourages open and supportive conversation.”

Dee Norton has compiled strategies for parents and caregivers to support mental health among themselves, their children and their families.

  • Create and maintain a safe and positive environment. Keep communication channels open and reassure children that they can come to you with any emotions they may be feeling. Make time to unwind and do something you each enjoy.
  • Practice good physical health. Practice healthy habits at home, like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, taking deep breaths, getting outside, sticking to a schedule and prioritizing sleep.
  • Spend time together. Carve out 5 minutes of uninterrupted time each day to build connection with your child(ren). Participate in an activity they enjoy. A positive connection will help children know you are safe to turn to should something hard occur.
  • Ask for help. Find trusted adults, friends or family members to talk to. If you or your child is struggling to manage negative emotions, consider therapy or counseling resources.

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