The month of May is widely know to be Mental Health/Mental Health Awareness Month… and rightfully so! During May, school is wrapping up to shut down for the summer, which means classes are ending and exams are beginning! Cramming in study sessions for finals in addition to term papers and projects can bring about a lot of stress on our youth. And let’s not forget attempting to plan for the future for our older adolescents in terms of trying to solidify potential summer internships, jobs, and/or planning life after high school whether that includes going to college or a having full-time job. It’s stressful to even list all of these activities!
With that being known, now could not present a more perfect time for parents/guardians to step in and check on their kids to see how they are coping with any and all of their perceived stressors. Life stressors mixed with poor coping skills are risk factors for substance use, misuse, and abuse like drinking, vaping, and opioid/prescription drug misuse. So, it’s important that we teach our youth to: 1. never neglect their mental health and 2. develop healthy coping skills and habits. We encourage parents/guardians to talk with their child(ren) about what stress or negative emotions they may feel and how they are currently handling them. Try to be a model of utilizing healthy coping skills in front of your child(ren), even if that means less glasses of wine after a long day of work. Before they spiral, help them sort out their stressors and support them in tackling things one at a time. Plan mental health days this summer filled with relaxing activities! Also, be sure to let them know that you are a safe space when they begin to feel like they don’t have it all together.
For more conversation starters, tips, and other resources, text “TALK” to 85775!