Jennifer Taylor is Head of Children and Young People at Time to Change. Changing how we all think and act about mental health problems. In this article, she shares her advice on the best way to talk with young people about mental health.

At Time to Change, we’re continuing to work to improve the way everyone thinks and acts towards those of us with mental health problems. In uncertain times like these our work doesn’t stop – in fact, it steps up a gear. Talking about mental health and our ability to do that without the fear of negative judgement from others has become more important than ever.

For those that work with young people in schools and youth settings it can be even more difficult –especially not being able to have conversations and check-ins face-to-face. We know that talking about mental health really can change lives, even if that conversation is a virtual one. We have pulled together some tips and resources to help you to have conversations with young people.

Tips for Talking

We asked young people for ways that their teachers, parents and friends could support them:

  • Listen and don’t judge – young people want to be able to open up without feeling judged for what they might be going through. Just listening, and showing you take them seriously, can help someone to manage.
  • Make time to talk – ask how someone is managing, and ask again if you’re worried they aren’t sharing the full picture. Asking again, with interest, can help someone to open up.
  • Spend time with me – you might not be able to meet face-to-face, but picking up the phone, having a video call or messaging someone lets them know you are there and that you care.

Supporting Young People to be there for their Friends

As we settle work with this new reality, the team at Time to Change have thought about how we can continue to provide schools with resources that they can roll out to students.  

We have free downloadable resources for schools, colleges and youth clubs on our website which include assemblies, lessons and short activities. We also have some great videos to help young people support and check-in with their friends. These are available on YouTube video 1 or video 2.

Supporting Colleagues

We have also created some information and advice for supporting each other’s mental health at work during coronavirus. These include tips from our partner charities Mind and Rethink mental Illness.

You can also follow us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, or sign up to our newsletter to see our latest updates and find out how you can get involved.

Jennifer can be reached on Jennifer.taylor@rethink.org or on 07442505497.

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Jennifer Taylor shares her advice on the best way to talk with young people about mental health.

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