Mental health - 5-11s - Better Lives Healthy Futures

Mental health – 5-11s

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Ups and downs are part of life and as a parent you can help your child feel ready to cope with life’s challenges.

Everyone experiences stress, fear and worry. Everyone has times when they feel good about themselves and times when they feel less good. You can help your child understand their feelings and what they can do to manage them, build strong self-esteem and positive social relationships.

How a child feels physically has a huge impact on their mental health, so encourage them to eat healthily, get enough exercise and sleep well too.

Signs that your child has a problem include: mood change – appearing bored, lonely, or withdrawn; irritability, argumentativeness, blaming, aggression; a change to their eating or sleeping pattern;  loss of interest in friends or activities they previously enjoyed, or missing school.

How you can help

Your child may be reluctant to talk about how they feel – this is common. But talking and listening is a key part of understanding what they might be going through. Talking to your child about how they’re feeling is not always easy – these tips may help:

Set 20 minutes aside for an activity you’ll both enjoy – this will help create a relaxed space.

Start the conversation casually – ask about their day and how they are feeling

Let them say what they want to say and make time to listen

Be there for them – the more you talk and listen, the sooner your child will know that they can talk to you when they need to. When they do open up, make sure they know you really care and are there for them.

Point them to self-help information – there is a lot of useful information online including on this website in the further information section, show it to them and encourage them to read it at their own pace, in their own time.

If you’re worried about your child and not sure you can help them, seek professional help.

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Further information

Child and adolescent mental health

If you're worried about a child or young person's behaviour or mental health, Young Minds has lots of helpful advice and resources on their website - as well as a free parent helpline.

Stress, anxiety and depression in children

The NHS website has many useful resources to help your child deal with stress, anxiety or depression.

Bradford Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS)

CAMHS provides a service for children, young people, their families and carers if a child or young person has significant emotional and psychological concerns.

Child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) in Wakefield

The Wakefield child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) provides assessment, interventions and support to children, young people and their families who are suffering from significant mental health or behavioural problems.

This May Help

This May Help is an NHS website that has been created to support parents and carers with concerns about their child’s mental health. The subjects covered on this website have been chosen by families and young people who have gone through their own mental health challenges. What helped them may also help you.

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