Ready or Not
(Part 14: In the Open blog series)
by Stephanie Pericich
It’s human nature to be reactive rather than proactive. When everything seems to be fine and everyone is feeling good, preparations for turbulent times may not be at the forefront of our minds. But when it comes to our mental and emotional health, being prepared can pay big dividends if and when difficult times come our way.
Of course, we don’t want to continually worry that the sky may be falling, and we don’t want our kids to live that way either. But taking a few small steps now to identify helpful resources could very well lighten our load down the road.
Encourage your child/teen to get to know their guidance counselor. Counselors want to help, and they want to get to know students and their hobbies, likes/dislikes, strengths/challenges, etc. Establishing this relationship at an early point creates a foundation of trust between counselor and student, which is helpful in good times and in bad. At the same time, don’t hesitate to reach out to the counselor with your concerns (even seemingly minor concerns) about your child.
Be aware of mental health resources that are available. Do a quick Google search on mental health resources in your community. Make time to attend as many mental health seminars and expos as you can (either virtually or in person.) Check to see what types of mental health resources and treatment options are available through your employer; increasingly, employers are making it easier and more affordable than ever to access services for employees and family members.
Talk with other parents. Some parents may be comfortable with sharing their personal experiences concerning mental health, whereas others may prefer to discuss resources on a more general basis. Either way, parents can be a wonderful source of information for each other. An added bonus of these conversations is that they help to destigmatize mental illness and asking for help.
Any action that we can take to boost resiliency is helpful– especially when life’s storm clouds gather. It’s one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our kids.
Stephanie Pericich is a Parkway area wife, mother and an independent author of non-fiction and poetry. Ms. Pericich has volunteered to share her experiences and perspectives as a mother navigating the challenges of parenting for the purpose of encouraging community conversations about keeping kids safe and healthy.