Offering support for family and friends

The beginning of the year can be a tough time for young people, but also for the parents and family who support them.

This time of year is often full of transitions, as young people start new years at school, transition to high school or tertiary study and join new sports teams which can make starting new routines tough.

With all of these changes it can be hard for parents and friends to know the difference between normal behaviours, like moodiness, withdrawal, and irritability, and an emerging mental health problem in a young person.

Often as a parent you can notice when something is a little out of the ordinary, but knowing how to support someone through change or a tough time can be difficult.

Plus finding a way to talk about sensitive issues and working to resolve problems that come up along the way can be challenging.

headspace have put together some tips for how parents can support a young person through these times;

  • Talk openly and honestly with them, and let them know that you are concerned.
  • Reassure them that you will be there for them, and ask what they need from you.
  • Let them know that there is lots of help available.
  • Help find an appropriate service, such as a headspace centre and support them in attending.
  • Help them build a support network.

Through all of this it is also important to make sure you look after yourself as well and make sure you have support around you, whether that is through talking to someone you trust or seeking professional help if you need it. Need more information? headspace have blogs and resources available online for family and friends of young people, providing tips and information on a range of topics, from social media advice to information on supporting young people with a mental health problem.

There are also regular group chats for friends and family online where you can anonymously ask questions and get feedback from eheadspace clinicians and Family and Youth Reference Group members.

Next month we will also be launching some family and friends information sessions locally on some of these topics, if you're interested in finding out more give us a call on 8531 2122 to get on the mailing list.

Clare Randall,

Community engagement worker

headspace Murray Bridge