Depression: A guide for parents and carers

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Talking to your child

Making time for a chat with your child is the most important first step to take. If you are worried about your child, it’s only natural that you will want to discuss your concerns, yet asking them how they feel can be very difficult. It may need some careful planning ahead to help it go well.

Think about what you want to say

Keep it simple. Talk to your child on their level and explain that you are worried about how they may be feeling and that you want to help them.

Choose statements that are facts and not judgements

Stick to facts to begin the discussion on your child’s terms. Let your child open up to you, in the way they feel comfortable, without being judgemental of their actions.

Try to ask “open questions”

Allow your child to say how they are feeling rather than give you a yes/no response. A good opener is “What’s on your mind?” and then seeing where the conversation goes from there.

Write down your concerns before you speak

Jotting down the things that you are most worried about can be helpful to make sure that your conversation stays on track.

Try to keep any anxiety you may feel to yourself

You will likely be feeling many challenging emotions about your child. As difficult as it may feel, you need to be there for them. Although it’s crucial to look after yourself throughout this, when talking try to focus on their feelings and what you can do to help.

Be calm and supportive and allow plenty of time

It will likely take a number of conversations to get to the heart of the matter. That’s okay. Take your time and be there for your child, at the right pace for them.

Show your child you are there for them and that you care

As well as carving out time for honest discussions, show your love and affection in the way that your child is most comfortable with. A peaceful and caring home environment can make a big positive difference to young people experiencing depression.

Choose your time carefully, when everyone is calm

The conversation with your child will likely only be positive if the setting and time is right. Try not to force or rush it, but choose a time and place to help you talk and listen to what your child has to say.

Gain the fuller picture

After speaking with your child, you may also want to talk to their teacher, school nurse or another trusted adult. You may also choose to ask this individual to keep a note of any concerns they have to add to your own written records.

It is always best to be open with your child about this. Tell your child that you are planning to do this and include them in the conversation so they do not feel excluded.

 

Suicidal thoughts and self-harm

Resources

Resource

An emotionally healthy approach to GCSEs - A guide for parents

Packed with practical tips and ideas to support young people before, during and after exam time.

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Resource

An emotionally healthy approach to GCSEs - A guide for teachers

Packed with practical tips and ideas to support young people before, during and after exam time.

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Resource

Asking for help (adult)

When it’s time to talk about your mental health.

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Resource

Asking for help (young person)

A simple guide for young people to help talk about their feelings.

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Resource

Depression booklet

Featuring useful facts, figures and information, this booklet also contains sources of help and what not to say to people experiencing depression

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Resource

Guide to depression for parents and carers

This booklet aims to help recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

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Resource

Guide to depression for parents and carers (Welsh)

This booklet aims to help parents recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

View resource
Resource

Looking after yourself during your GCSEs - A guide for pupils

Packed with practical tips and ideas to support young people before, during and after exam time.

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Resource

Low mood poster

Poster created in partnership with Bank Workers Charity highlighting common causes of low mood, how to help yourself feel better and information on where to get more help.

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Resource

Making the move to university: care leavers

Read how to look after your mental health if you are starting university after being in care.

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Resource

Making the move to university: international students

Moving to university is especially tough for those who are coming from another country. Don't forget to make sure you prioritise your mental health, and read how to do so here.

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Resource

Making the move to university: LGBTQ+ students

Read our resource on how you can best take care of your mental health when making the transition to university if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Resource

Making the move to university: not fitting in

Read our guide on how to protect your wellbeing if you are starting university and feel like you may not fit in in any way.

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Resource

Making the move to university: students with adverse childhood experiences

Resource for those starting university who have had adverse childhood experiences such as trauma or abuse.

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Resource

Making the move to university: young carers

Read how to access support and prioritise your mental health while transitioning to university as a young carer.

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Resource

Perfectionism

Aiming high can sometimes come at a cost. This eight page guide looks at ‘unhealthy perfectionism’ – how to spot it and advice on how to develop effective interventions.

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Resource

Supporting a child with anxiety

A guide for parents and carers to help understand anxiety more clearly and begin to address it.

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Resource

Warning signs poster

A bold A3 poster showing the warning signs that tell you when someone may be depressed. This poster could save a life.

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Resource

Wellbeing Action Plan (child)

A simple, resource to help young people keep themselves well and get them through difficult times

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Resource

Wellbeing Journal

A simple, journal to help young people think about and write down the things which make them feel good.

View resource

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