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Keeping Kids on the Path to Mental Health

A column in the Fort Wayne, Indiana Journal-Gazette caught our eye recently.

Columnist Helen Huser Nill, who is a mother of three and aunt to 37 nieces and nephews, notes how quickly things are changing in our society and the repercussions on our teens and young adults.

She writes “Our children are being squeezed harder and harder by society.…We are unknowingly allowing society, companies and universities to increase demands, heighten fear, raise distractions, steal unscheduled time and sleep, and reduce time with family and friends for our teens and young adults.”

“As parents we want the best for our children,” she continues. “It’s easy for us to get caught up in waves of popular societal ways and not consider the long-term effects when making decisions that could affect our children’s mental health.”

She goes on to recommend some things parents can do to help children and teens be mentally healthy:

  • Creating daily phone-free and computer-free dinner time.
  • Allowing for face-to-face time with your child, just being together.
  • Educating ourselves and our teens/young adults on signs of anxiety, depression and other mental health illnesses and issues. (Signs in children differ from those of adults.)
  • Ensuring teens have unscheduled time to play.
  • Making sure teens get enough sleep, with no phones in the bedroom at night.
  • Encouraging face-to-face social time with friends — phones off.
  • Encouraging adequate exercise and a healthy diet.
  • Scheduling an appointment for a mental health checkup/assessment if concerned about a child’s mental health.

The column is worth reading in full. You can find it here.