If you’re concerned that a child or young person you care about is experiencing anxiety or depression, or at risk of suicide, it’s important to let them know that you’re worried. Supporting your loved one and getting them to open up can be challenging. It's important to stay patient and listen.
Talking about thoughts and feelings can be difficult for young people – it doesn’t always come naturally. They might get angry when you ask if they’re ok, or they might shut down and say nothing. You might find it difficult to talk openly too. Approach these conversations with respect, thoughtfulness and try to avoid judgement. Let them know why you’re worried and what you’ve noticed. Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling and share any current things that might be stressing them out.
Regardless of where your loved one is at, all young people need to know that they are loved, respected and trusted. Anything you can do to reinforce this for them will be valuable.
Talk about what’s going on
Let your young person know you’re concerned and want to help. Create an environment where they can open up, and make sure you give them space to talk. Don’t be afraid to ask about how they’re feeling and talk about what is going on. It can also help to find out more about anxiety and depression – either before you have the conversation, or by doing some research together.