When your child comes to you with concerns about a friend’s mental health, you are in a position to be helpful to both your child and their friend. But you may also feel overwhelmed by the responsibility you suddenly feel. You might feel the urge to rescue your child’s friend and perhaps even your child. Just notice the urge and resist it unless there’s actually an emergency.
Here are some helpful ways to respond when your child opens up about a friend’s mental health issues.
If your child is reporting that their friend has said that they want to harm themselves or others, it is best to take immediate action. Explain to your child that it isn’t about breaking a confidence, it’s about being a good friend and helping them stay safe. Remind your child that self-harm or suicidal thoughts are not usually about wanting to be dead, but more about wanting to end their suffering. Let your child know that good treatment can help with exactly that. If there is imminent danger, call 911 and let them know about the situation. If not, you may want to call the child’s parents and let them know about the National Suicide/Crisis Hotline at 988 or call your child’s school and ask them for guidance in helping your child’s friend.
By actively listening, providing emotional support, and guiding your child on how to encourage their friend to seek help, you play a vital role in fostering a culture of empathy and support. Together, you and your child can contribute to creating a compassionate community where mental health is prioritized and no one feels alone in their struggles.
Find the approaches that feel right to you and your family but keep in mind that being forced to say thank you or write a note or pointing out how much more “fortunate” your child is than others will not create the authentic grateful approach to life that you wish for your child.
For more parenting support, join us for an Upcoming Live Workshop, browse our Libraries of Quick Video Solutions and check out our podcasts and other resources. Questions? Email us at Solutions@Peaceathomeparenting.com or learn more about our Corporate, School and NonProfit programs.
Peace At Home founder, Ruth E. Freeman, LCSW recently sat down with inspiring Peace At Home teacher, Lucinda
When your child comes to you with concerns about a friend’s mental health, you are in a position
University of North Carolina Psychology Professor, Andrea Hussong, has conducted research on one of the most important questions
We all want to start our day with a sweet family connection before going our separate ways. But
Family meals are associated with better school performance, fewer behavior problems and lower risk of substance use in
Do you experience that sinking feeling when you need to travel for work? Struggle with guilt and think