Mental Health Awareness Month is commemorated each May by amplifying stories that advocate for better access to mental health services, and sharing resources and tips to promote the importance of improving wellbeing. With teens so connected to their devices to learn, be socially connected, and entertained, it is vital that parents feel equipped to navigate the digital world and understand how it impacts mental health. Read on for some quick tips to get your mental health conversation started.
3 Tips Parents Can Share With Their Kids To Alleviate Social Media Stress:
- Have your child think about why they joined social media. Did they want to share photos and thoughts with a community? Do they use it as a social connection to their friends, far away family, or classmates? Was it because of peer pressure? Ask if they are a passive or active user, and take a step back to consider why they have each social media account.
- Who does your teen follow online and who provides enrichment? Who do they just scroll past? It is important for teens to feel like they are getting something positive out of their online interactions. If there is anyone your teen thinks does not serve a purpose in their timeline or makes them feel negative in some way, encourage them to unfollow that account, or at least mute them to take a break from their content.
- Encourage your child to do tech-free activities regularly. Let them know it’s healthy to take a break from tech - it will always be there when they come back! A new sport, club, volunteering opportunity, babysitting gig, or friend hang-out might be on the horizon. Family time without screens is a great option too.
3 Ways Parents Can Work Towards Modeling Good Digital Behavior:
- Educate yourself. Search online for anything you don’t understand like the latest apps, games, or social media sites. Try them out yourself. Being familiar with the places that kids spend the most time will help you better understand their online experience if something upsetting happens.
- Explore, share, and celebrate. Learn from each other and have fun. Follow your kids on social media (especially when they first start out) but respect their online space and freedom.
- Know when and where to set an example and unplug. Curbing your own digital bad habits is the best way to demonstrate the healthy tech mindset you want for your kids. Be kind online.
3 Mental Health Organizations We Love:
- Crisis Text Line - an organization that provides free, 24/7, high quality text-based mental health support and crisis intervention by empowering a community of trained volunteers to support people in their moments of need. Text “HOME” to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.
- Mental Health America - the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all.
- National Alliance on Mental Health - the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.