Starting the Mental Health Conversation

It can be daunting to bring up mental health in conversation with your kids. It’s not exactly a light and entertaining topic, right??

But in reality, the earlier you begin talking about mental health, the better. 

Remember- everyone has a brain so everyone has mental health! 

You wouldn’t completely avoid exercise, eat junk food, and stay up late and then expect your body to be in peak shape. You would make an effort to take care of your physical self so you can feel your best. The same holds true for your mental and emotional health!

 

The way you talk to your kids about mental health will depend on their age. The frame of reference will vary- for younger kids these discussions will focus mainly on identifying feelings in themselves and others, and how those feelings affect our behavior. Older kids may relate better to a story of a celebrity, family member, or friend who has dealt with mental health issues. 

It’s important to talk about mental health without any sort of stigma attached- there is no shame in having feelings and nothing wrong with seeking help when those feelings get too big to deal with on your own.

Modeling your own feelings and being open about how you cope with a tough day will also help kids navigate their own emotions. 

 

Have you found a good conversation starter that you’ve used with your kids? Share in the comments!

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Emily Stanley

Emily is the founder and Executive Director of GEMS (Gaining Emotional Mastery Skills). She is a former teacher and a certified girls' empowerment coach.

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