Adolescence can be a tough time for any kid. Young people in care can have a tougher time than most. Many of them have had experiences that most adults would struggle to cope with.
A young person might not have lived with their carers for very long or they may have that normal adolescent reluctance to tell their parents or carers how they are feeling. Some young people might feel ashamed or be worried about what will happen if they talk about their feelings and what’s happening in their lives.
How can carers help young people to look after their mental health?
Making sure that kids know about headspace is a great place to start. Headspace is a free mental health service for young people from the age of 12 to 25.
Kids can access headspace independently by dropping into one of the headspace centres, by phone, or by contacting them online via headspace
Kids can drop into a headspace centre any time. The centres are based all over the country – including in urban and regional NSW. They are designed with advice from teens so that young people feel welcome and comfortable as soon as they walk through the door.
If there is not a centre nearby or there are other access issues, young people can also speak to a mental health professional over the phone, or online either one to one with a mental health professional or in a group chat.
All services are free or low cost, and confidential. Young people under 16 years of age are encouraged to let their parents or carers know that they are getting help from headspace but they can choose not to.
Carers and parents can also get help from headspace
Caring for a young person going through a hard time can leave carers and parents worried or at a loss about how to help. Headspace clinicians and staff are available to talk to adults supporting young people about:
- what’s going on in a young person's life,
- information about services for young people and families,
- parenting resources,
- worries about a young person’s mental health which may include concerns about depression, anxiety, isolation, drug and/ or alcohol use.
There are also specialty family clinicians who are experienced youth mental health professionals with additional family experience or family therapy training.
The headspace website is a fantastic resource, and has loads of information both for young people and for their families. Find out more about how to support young people’s mental health at www.headspace.org.au