5 Ways To Talk To Kids About Depression

5 Ways To Talk To Kids About Depression

talk-to-kids-about-depression

Talking to your kids about depression and mental illness, no matter what age they are, is a very daunting task. But the reality is, with the onset of quarantine, depression and teen suicide rates are soaring higher than ever, making it really important for us as parents to be addressing this with our kids, no matter how difficult it is.

Millions of people struggle with depression every year making it imperative for us to talk to our children about it, to help them navigate their own feelings to find healthy coping mechanisms as they go through each season of life. And maybe it is to help them understand what we and others are going through too.

It is scary to watch a parent/loved one go through depression and talking about it with our children helps them not only understand us better, but to understand themselves and their feelings better as they develop life-long habits to cope with their feelings.

If you are ready to talk to kids about depression and are struggling to find the right words, here are a few useful tips for any age!

WAIT! Before You Talk To Kids About Depression…

Take some time to learn as much as you can about it. If you are unsure of anything, before you talk to kids about depression you should read up on depression.

You can read this post here on what you need to know about kids and depression    this post on depression vs sadness, or this post on depression. You can also do a google search on depression. Get as informed on depression as you can!

5 Ways To Talk To Kids About Depression

  1. Go over mental health vocab words – start off talking about being happy, being sad, being angry and identify those words, moving on to the bigger concepts of depression, suicide, hurting yourself or others for older kids. You can ask things like “Do you know how it feels to be happy/sad/angry? And What does each feel like for you? When do you feel that way? What colors describe those feelings?
    1. Let the conversation flow, guided with mental health vocab words to help them start understanding.
  2. Keep it factual. Stick to facts, give them definitive definitions of things and help them understand how depression is unique unto each of us. Keep conversations realistic and to the facts and points.
  3. Encourage them to talk. At each step. Incorporate questions like “Do you ever feel that way? What color does that make you feel like? What does it make you feel like doing? Have you noticed any of your friends or parents feeling this? What do you notice they do?”. Always keep the lines of communication open.
  4. Direct them to age-appropriate resources for help. If they are younger, point out their guidance counselors at school, older kids can be shown the unlimited amount of resources available online. You can even find a mental health facility or foundation near you and volunteer with your kids one day for a project. Show them that depression is part of our society, that it is nothing to be feared and the more understanding and compassionate we are with one another, the less depression there will be in our world.
  5. Give them space and reassurance. Reassure them that you are there for them, no matter what either of you are going through. Then be sure to give them some space to process this. It is a lot for anyone to take in. But don’t forget to check in with them a few days after you talk to keep the lines of communication open!

By opening the lines of communication and showing your child that you are there to talk about absolutely anything, we are raising a generation of people who will be self-aware and self-accepting. What are your great tips for talking to kids about depression?

Cheers,

Malibu Mama Loves Xx

 

Author: malibumamaloves

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