By Eleanor Beeslaar
Families can foster health and wellness by promoting positive mental health and paying attention to when professional help may be needed. When you encourage healthy expressions of emotion, provide lots of love and support, and set expectations of trust and respect within your family, you create a secure base for positive social, emotional, and psychological development (Mental Health America, 2018).
Parents can also be mental health role models for their kids by expressing their emotions in a healthy way, encouraging positive self-talk, and practicing self-care. By inviting your child to talk about their concerns and emotions, you are creating an opportunity to teach them that it is normal to feel anger, sadness, worry, or fear at times. This can help them develop positive attitude about feelings and facilitate healthy expressions of emotions. Families can also promote positive self-esteem through practicing self-care and positive self-talk. Here are some tips for self-care and positive affirmations:
- Encourage family members to choose an activity to complete that makes them happy at least once a week.
- Celebrate accomplishments and encourage talents and interests!
- Encourage family members to talk about things they are good at and the parts of themselves that they love. A great way to do this is to say positive self-affirmations in the mirror! (“I love that I am kind to others.” “I am strong.” “I am brave.”)
- As parents, be mindful of the language you use to talk about yourself. When you model positive self-talk, your children are more likely to develop healthy self-images and have more positive self-esteem.
It is also critical for family members to be aware of the warning signs of potential mental health problems that may need the help of a professional. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable
- Feeling overly anxious or worried
- Excessive anger
- Hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there
- Major changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Loss of interest in friends or things that are normally enjoyable
- Lack of concentration or inability to focus
- Falling behind in school
Mental Health America (2018). Children’s Mental Health. Retrieved form http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/childrens-mental-health