Top tips to help parents and carers support kids’ mental wellbeing

YOUNG people in East Sussex are offering their ‘top ten tips’ to help parents and carers support children’s mental health.
The guide was devised after a survey of almost 1,000 people found children, parents and carers had different ideas on what would help youngsters’ emotional wellbeing.
It includes simple tips such as being open and honest, picking the right time to talk, trusting children to know their own mental health and to ‘listen first, talk later’, and also reminds parents and carers to look after their own mental wellbeing.
The tips, compiled by East Sussex Youth Cabinet and Seaford Youth Forum, appear on posters and postcards to be distributed first in Seaford and then around the county in the spring.
The initiative will be launched as a social media campaign from Monday, November 18 and shared at an event with parents and carers at Seaford Head School on Wednesday, December 11 from 4 to 6pm.
East Sussex Youth Cabinet member Bea Montgomerie-Christie, 17, said: “In our research we found a lot of information on mental health, but it wasn’t always accessible or useful for parents and carers.
“After consulting with hundreds of young people and parents and carers across East Sussex, we found that they really want support and good advice, and would benefit from knowing about websites and other resources that can help.” The young people, who last year compiled a top 10 tips guide for schools, spoke to teachers, families and health professionals and surveyed 589 young people and 368 parents and carers.
They found parents overestimated how effective they were at having open and honest conversations with their children and how likely their child was to talk to them about any issues. While parents and carers thought their children would talk to them first if they felt anxious or distressed, young people said they would be more likely to speak to friends, siblings or teachers.
Atiya Gourlay, equality, participation and partnerships manager at East Sussex County Council, said: “The young people have developed an eye-catching and creative series of images to promote the tips for parents and carers.

“The project is a showcase of the benefit of involving young people and giving them the opportunity to play a leading role in communication campaigns. “By providing simple but effective tips and directing adults to other resources available, young people in East Sussex are helping to develop adults’ confidence and promote mental wellbeing.”
Some of the young people involved were interviewed about the scheme for BBC Sussex’s Raising Teens programme, recorded by the media production company Make (Good) Trouble, which is due to air on Monday, December 16 at 8pm.

Any parents or carers who would like to attend the launch event at Seaford Head School on December 11 are asked to book a place by emailing sam.whittaker@seafordhead.org
Information for parents is available online at the dedicated East Sussex-focused website www.openforparents.org.uk