CNN Health pulls back the curtain on childhood mental health. The report emphasizes keeping the focus on whether behaviors “are excessive, cause distress, are consistent and unrelenting and lead to problems in key life areas,” and offers tips on how to open up communication.
In highlighting tips, Kristen Rogers writes (excerpt):
[Early] communication involves dismantling the shame commonly attached to mental health issues, sending the message that they’re as acceptable to discuss as physical symptoms such as nausea or headaches.
“Instead, actively listen to their concerns. Show understanding [with phrases such as ‘I get this is hard’] and validate their experience of the situation and feelings,” she said.
A broad question such as “What’s wrong?” can prompt one-word answers that give little information. Inquiries such as how they’re getting along with their friends at lunch can get them to open up about more specific areas of their lives, Berry suggested.