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Youth mental health tips for the holidays

As we rapidly approach the end of the year it is a great time to reflect and express our gratitude for the good things – big and small – that have come our way in 2015.

For many of us it can be a very difficult time, particularly for people experiencing isolation, loneliness and mental health issues, as we are bombarded with messages of celebrations, gifts and holidays.

For young people, particularly those facing big life changes like starting a new school, higher education, or seeking employment, it can be a really challenging time. Losing the normal routine and structure of school, missing the regular contact of friends, or having to financially support themselves can cause additional pressure.

Parents are key in helping young people to get support, so knowing the signs and symptoms something might be wrong and then how to get help is vital.

While parents don’t need to be able to solve everything, noticing changes and signs that something isn’t right is a good first step. You may notice they withdraw, and stop doing things they usually enjoy, seem down, worried or irritable.

There is help available. Headspace, the national youth mental health foundation, provides support for parents and young people aged 12 to 25 who are having a tough time.

General mental health and wellbeing resources can be found at headspace.org.au.

For online and telephone support please visit eheadspace.org.au or call 1800 650 890, which is staffed by qualified youth mental health professionals. Our service is available between 9am and 1am EST over the holiday period, including Christmas Day.

Wishing you and your family a safe, relaxing and enjoyable break over the holidays.

Chris Tanti, CEO, Headspace


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