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What Can Parents Do Right Now To Help Monitor Their Children’s Mental Health?

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With everyday life looking so much different these days, children can be at risk for mental and emotional challenges as a result of the pandemic.

Rebecca Dutson of The Children’s Center tells us one of the best ways to see how your children are doing is asking them questions about their everyday life.

“I often think about how I engage anybody in a conversation,” she said. “Tell me what you did. Tell me how you felt. And how did things go? Were you happy there?”

Duston said you can also ask if there was anything frustrating that happened or ask if they’re getting along with their friends.

Then, most importantly, listen and help them understand the experience they had.

Those conversations can not only reveal struggles your child may be having, but also help you build a strong relationship so your kids can feel comfortable coming to you when they need help.

Utah consistently has some of the highest rates of suicide among teens in the nation.

Many people can disregard worrisome behavior as typical teen behavior, but there are some key differences.

According to the Utah State Board of Education, parents and teachers should listen for:

  • Talk of suicide (“I just want to go to sleep and never wake up,” “If _____ happens, I’ll kill myself”)
  • Talk of feeling hopeless (“What is the point? Nothing is going to get better”)
  • Talk of feeling like a burden to others (“They would be better off without me”)

Parents and teachers should watch for children who are:

  • Looking for ways to commit suicide, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Isolating themselves from family and friends
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Displaying one or more of the following moods: depression, anxiety, loss of interest, irritability, humiliation, agitation, rage
  • Exhibit a sudden or unexplained calm or euphoria after a long day of depression
  • Saying goodbyes or tying up loose ends

SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES 

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call the Utah State Crisis Line1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

Additional Crisis Hotlines 

  • National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741 
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386 

Online resources 

In an emergency 

  • Call 911 
  • Go to the emergency room 
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