Young people experience great change; socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. For many young people, adolescence is an exciting and happy time. For others, it can be challenging – wanting independence, trying to fit in, working things out with family and friends, and coping with daily events. Sometimes parents and guardians may find it hard to tell the difference between ‘normal teenage behaviour’ and anxiety and depression.
In Australia, one in six young people aged 16 to 24 years is currently experiencing an anxiety condition and one in 16 young Australians is currently experiencing depression.1 If your young person shows signs of anxiety or depression it is important to seek support together early.
If you are a parent or guardian with a mental illness and need advice on how to talk to a young person about your condition, Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) has some great resources.
The University of Melbourne, with funding from beyondblue, has developed guidelines for how to prevent depression and anxiety in your child.
The guidelines are a general set of recommendations on how parents can reduce their child’s risk of developing depression or anxiety. These recommendations may also be useful for parents whose child is already experiencing some symptoms of depression or anxiety. The University of Melbourne and beyondblue recognise that each family is unique, and so parents may need to adapt these strategies to their specific situation.
Guidelines for primary-school aged children and for teenagers are available.
Have the conversation
Are you worried about a young person and not sure what to say or how to help them?