I posted recently about mental health and younger children, but what if you’ve got older children or teens and you haven’t thought much about mental health before?

I think that the key to good mental health in our children is first of all taking care of ourselves. By modelling good mental health practices we show our children how to be vulnerable, pay attention to their feelings and how to honour and process them. When we have systems that work, we can pass those on with much more experience and gravitas than when we talk about something we’ve heard of but not practised ourselves.

We know from the data that social media can have a huge impact on our teenager’s mental health, especially girls apparently, so it is vital that we do all we can to help them manage their social media time.

-encourage them to set time limits on their phones
-make sure they are media literate so can view what they are seeing with as critical an eye as possible
-encourage them to follow healthy accounts and role models
-talk to them about how they feel when they look at certain posts on their feeds. Help them to notice what makes them feel low/self conscious and what type of content can lift their mood or inspire them
-MODEL healthy use of devices yourself
-set boundaries-eg no devices at the dinner table / bed time
-talk to them about porn BEFORE they might see it or start watching it (see other posts on porn for more)
-have ALL the talks us sex educators preach about-not just the basics but all the relationships stuff too-especially CONSENT (see feed for more!)
-body confidence takes a lot of work for anyone and especially for teens. Make sure they are hearing and seeing as positive messaging from you as possible.

Remember all those vital areas of life that can keep people happy and healthy. The simple stuff that can seem so hard to achieve-balanced diet, enough sleep, exercise! 👯‍♀️Friendships and meaningful connections. ❤️Being of service to others. ⛹🏿Hobbies and creative outlets are so important for teens especially as they navigate that tricky period of their lives.

What would have helped your mental health during your teenage years?