Supporting your Child’s Journey to Wellness:
It can be really difficult when someone you love, especially your child is not feeling well. It can be especially difficult if your child is struggling with their mental health or has been diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s really hard to see your child in pain and can be confusing when they are not acting like the person you know them to be. Just like any other physical health concern, when your child is struggling with their mental health they need extra love and support. Even though you may not be able to see their struggles or illness, it does not mean that you are powerless to support them on a path to wellness.
Based on our research at BounceBack®, we know that there are many ways that you can support your child’s journey to mental wellness. Here are some suggestions:
- Find out more about mental health and what your child is struggling with. This can help equip you with the knowledge that you need to move forward.
- Let your child know that you are there for them and are willing to talk and offer support when needed.
- Encourage your child to seek the advice of experts such as a doctor or healthcare provider and offer to be there for them if they do not feel comfortable doing this on their own.
- Encourage your child to put what they learn into practice and also realize that there are no quick fixes.
- From time to time, use your sense of humour to help you and your child to feel better.
- Take care of yourself by setting aside time to tend to your own needs. Use effective coping strategies to deal with your own worries so your child can see them in action.
While it can be scary, know that you can be there for your child. There are a few things that you can pay extra attention to in order to ensure you are not unintentionally providing unhelpful support. Behaviours that are not helpful include:
- Becoming overprotective and “bubble wrapping” your child. This risks making them feel suffocated. Ensure that you are not taking away all of their responsibilities and choices.
- Offering “helpful advice” all the time and constantly reassuring them that everything will work out fine (“of course, you will be okay”).
- Constantly asking your child how they are doing and not allowing your child to be upset.
It’s not always easy knowing how to provide the right support. It requires extra love, patience and emotional support. Whether your child is using BounceBack or another program, it’s important to check in with your child to understand what they are comfortable sharing and how much involvement they would like from you while working through the materials. Each booklet is the participant’s own resource and is private to them. Some people find it helpful to share, but whatever your child chooses, it’s really important to respect their wishes. Each booklet is like someone’s personal diary and in the same way it isn’t meant to be read by anyone but the person it belongs to.
If you would like to learn more, we have an entire adult workbook called, “Information for Family and Friends” that you can access for free through the online program. You can also browse the rest of this website for more information on how BounceBack can help.
Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:
- CMHA National: Supporting a Loved One
- HereToHelp: Talking to Children and Youth
- KeltyMentalHealth: Parents and Caregivers
- Foundry: Get Support