What Can a Parent(s) Do?
The most important thing a parent can do is to talk with and listen to your child/teenager’s concerns, fears, etc. Sit close, make eye contact, look at the body language, offer a caring touch or hug. Hear what is being said, or not being said (silence can speak volumes), be non-judgemental and open minded, do not invalidate or laugh, be responsive not reactive. Your child/teenager needs you to believe him/her, be kind, supportive and understanding, offer reassurance and show love. The child/teenager needs to know that you will be there, that you will help him/her and that you will do whatever it takes to help him/her manage the symptoms of the mental illness, improve health and well being and recover.
Once you have spoken with your child/teenager, the next step is to schedule an appointment with a doctor for an assessment and physical examination. Additional things to do will be to make appointment with a psychotherapist, implement the treatment plan, follow up with the school, talk with child/teenager’s siblings and any family/friends who play an active role in your child/teenager’s life.