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Listen openly, without judgement
You’re trying to create a space where your child can talk to you about anything, so being judgemental or cutting in too soon to offer advice is a sure fire way of shutting this down. Let your child have whatever emotion they need to express what’s on their mind. Listening carefully and asking questions before responding helps to show your child you understand them.
Revisit the problem
When the child shares a problem or negative experience, gently ask whether there might be another explanation for things happening the way they did. Try to help them see that it’s not as awful as they might think, and work on some problem-solving strategies together.
Keep a focus on normal routines and activities
When a child is experiencing depression, their thinking can get clouded by lots of negatives. The more they dwell on problems and issues, the bigger these become. Activities and everyday routines can help distract kids from negative thinking patterns.
Spending time with friends can help to reduce unhappy feelings – it helps to know you’re liked and appreciated. Friends are also a great distraction and can suggest better ways of thinking about situations. If your child seems reluctant to spend time with friends, help them start small – an hour playing with a friend, or suggest a fun activity that doesn’t require too much talking, like throwing a ball or watching a movie.
Keep active and have fun
Blow off some steam and bust stress with some physical activity. Find something your child likes to do – from throwing a Frisbee to roller blading; playing catch to rock climbing.
If your child’s change of mood is very severe or goes on for a few weeks without improving, it’s time to do something about it. Don’t leave it and assume things will get better on their own. Seeking help early for your child is the best thing you can do.
The best place to start is by speaking to your GP or health practitioner. They will be able to assess your individual situation and recommend the best next steps for your recovery.
Our team of mental health professionals are here to support you on our 24/7 Mental Health Phone Support line. It’s available to Medibank members with hospital cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 644 325~.
For more support and information
Things you need to know
~ OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.
While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees).
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