How to talk to Children about Mental Health

Talking about mental health with children can be uncomfortable and strange, and as a parent, you might not know where or how to start the conversation with your child. In some situations, as a parent, you might wonder if the child will understand the talk on mental health.

It may be awkward to discuss mental health issues with your kids, but it’s important to establish an environment that is open and safe. Talk to them informally about their feelings and interests to start. Urge them to confide in another adult they can trust if they won’t open up to you. Watch for warning indicators, such as behavioral changes, and, if necessary, seek professional assistance. When addressing problems, be straightforward but considerate; refrain from passing judgment. Keep in touch with those in your child’s life who have dealt with mental health concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from experts if necessary. Remain composed, listen without passing judgment, and put your child’s safety first while they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. One interaction at a time, one moment at a time, is where the stigma-busting starts. Recall that childhood mental illnesses can be treated.

Firstly, create a safe space to initiate the talk with the child. Play or activities can effectively be used with children to make them understand the talk on mental health.

How do you start a conversation with your child?

What are the things that you are grateful for?

How is school? How are you enjoying your time in school?

What makes you feel supported?

What are you worried about?

What is the interesting thing you like doing every day?

If you were the manager of the house, what rules would you make?

Frame questions and use words that don’t make your child feel threatened or defensive. If they feel threatened, they will not open up or talk to you.

Warnings that can be noticed in children

  • Decline in school performances or poor grades
  • Substance abuse and drinking alcohol
  • Changes in their sleeping and eating habits
  • Dysfunctional in carrying out their day-to-day activities
  • Constantly worried or anxious
  • Show no pleasure or interest in activities that they enjoyed doing in the past.
  • Sudden outburst of anger
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Low self-esteem issues
  • Stealing, bullying, or getting bullied

When you notice these warning signs, talk to a mental health professional. Talk with your child’s teacher, friends, or other people who interact with and observe the child about your child’s well-being and functionality. You will get information about your child that you were not able to identify.

The dos and don’ts

The dos The don’ts
Just get over it. You will be fine. That sounds unfair; it must be hard for you. I want you to know that I am here for you.
Be positive I am sorry you are feeling low now. I am here for you.
Just look on the bright side. We will live through this. Sometimes things don’t go the way they were planned.
Why are you always like this? I noticed you don’t seem like yourself lately. Is everything okay with you? I am here for you.
You need to calm down. I see that you are upset and angry. Can you please tell me what is bothering you?


If your child confides in you that they are thinking of suicide, remain calm and listen to them non-judgmentally. Keeping your child safe should be your top responsibility. If they are in immediate danger, take them to the emergency room or seek mental health assistance. The mental health professionals are qualified to assist in managing the immediate risk of suicide and to work with you and your child to develop a strategy for receiving ongoing care.
Reminding them that you are on their side, no matter what, is crucial.

We can eradicate the stigma associated with mental health together. Just keep in mind that children’s mental illnesses are treatable and manageable. Children who receive early detection, diagnosis, and treatment are better able to realize their full potential.




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