How to start a mental health conversation with your kids – CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Between the pandemic and the challenges of school and life, there is a mental health crisis among children in the United States. Doctors say this is something parents need to discuss with their children.
A survey of National Children’s Program on our sleeves shows that a majority of parents – 93% of respondents – know that it is important to talk to children about mental health. But more than half need help figuring out how to start the conversation.
Pediatric psychologist Dr Ariana Hoet leads On our sleeves. Its mission is to break the stigma and provide resources for families. This month they are releasing Operation: Conversation.
“It’s about teaching adults how to have conversations with children, conversations in general, habit building, but also difficult conversations,” Dr. Hoet said. “So how do you talk about their mental health if you’re worried about them, how do you talk about the news.”
On Our Sleeves offers tips for starting and keeping the conversation going, as well as problem solving and counseling for children.
“Every day a time when there are no distractions, maybe dinner time, in the car, at bedtime — ask open-ended questions about a child’s day,” Dr. Hoet said. . “What was the best part of your day? Is there anything bothering you right now? »
Zenniere Bowry-Thomas makes it a priority to talk with her children about their thoughts and feelings. She asks them to say a highlight and a low point of their day.
“I started having these conversations at night with my son and daughter, and I found asking these specific questions got a little more out of it than ‘Yes, Mom, it was a beautiful day,'” said Bowry Thomas. .
Her family has had to navigate difficult conversations, from the pandemic to racism.
“When you’re trying to stay healthy, you have to take care of your heart, and you have to take care of your brain and your mental health as well,” she said.
Bowry-Thomas also shows his children that it’s okay to express emotions.
Click to find more information about Operation: Conversation