Spot the signs – empowering parents and carers to spot mental health issues

This week, as part of the #CovidWellbeingNI Partnership, we are encouraging parents to be aware of the signs of mental health issues in children and young people as we come out of lockdown.

AMH MensSana works with parents and carers, teaching them to recognise mental health issues that children and young people in their care may be facing.

Action Mental Health is warning that there could be an increase in mental health issues faced by children and young people as we deal with the fallout of lockdown and its impact on our younger generations.

We’re urging parents and carers to spot the signs of mental ill health such as:

  • Persistent sadness — two or more weeks.
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding social interactions.
  • Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself.
  • Talking about death or suicide.
  • Outbursts or extreme irritability.
  • Out-of-control behaviour that can be harmful.
  • Excessive worrying or fear.
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning.
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria.

One tried and test approach towards promoting your overall well-being is the Five Ways to Well-being, which everyone of all ages can take as a mental ‘five-a-day’. The steps remind us to:

  • Stay Connected,
  • Be Active
  • Keep Learning
  • Take Notice
  • Give

Further advice and support can be found on the CovidWellbeing NI website which the AMH is contributing to in partnership with 15 other mental health charities, as well as the Public Health Agency and the Departments for Communities and Health.

Operations Manager of Resilience and Wellbeing, Amanda Jones said:

“Lockdown has been a rollercoaster for most adults, so it’s important we don’t forget that it will also have had very significant impacts on our children and young people. Many of them left school without any sense of closure or being able to say goodbye to friends and teachers.

“ Children may carry these burdens and it may have a detrimental impact on them.

“As many of us try to balance home-schooling, childcare and working at home, it is important that we support parents and carers to look out for signs of mental ill health and encourage them to talk to children and young people about these issues.

“Empowering parents to broach issues like this can help mitigate against the very worst impacts of this virus on our collective mental health and wellbeing. Through honest conversations and acknowledging thoughts and feelings, children and young people can become more aware of emotional health and may engage more with the idea of wellbeing.

“Action Mental Health are very aware that the long term impacts of the global health crisis may not be known for a long time, but we know children and young people will face significant issues as a result of the legacy of Covid-19, we need to act now to protect against this.

“The enormous shift in life for many will have major impacts moving forward. Services including the Covid Wellbeing NI Hub are good resources for mental health coping strategies and should be utilised to help both parents and the young people and children they are looking after.”

Follow us all week on our social media channels for more tips!

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