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Helping teens care about mental health

Helping teens care about mental health

Every teenager is going to experience pressure at some point in his life – pressure to achieve academically, pressure to fit in, pressure to establish a career path, etc. With the increasing demands put on teens today, it’s essential for them to understand the importance of mental wellness. Developing self-confidence through mental wellness will make it easier on teens to resist peer pressure.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial for teens to appreciate its role in wellness as they prepare to venture into the world on their own. Below, we offer a few tips on how to encourage your teen to prioritize mental health.

Teach coping skills

Learning how to deal with and conquer negative emotions takes time. Work with your child to establish healthy coping skills that will ease the stress of the daily struggles he faces. Coping techniques can be different for every teenager, so work together to find what works. The goal is to establish a habit that will help your child put his negative feelings into perspective, allowing him to seek a healthy solution. 

Be open to having hard conversations

It’s no secret that talking with teenagers about controversial subjects can be challenging. However, being open to discussing mental health issues with teenagers not only diminishes societal stigma, but it also allows parents to prove themselves as an ally and a confidant. Look for everyday situations that can be used as teachable moments.

Instill self-esteem

Let your child know his worth. Make sure your teen knows he is good enough and accepted no matter what. Praise your teen, regardless the size of the accomplishment. And if the outcome is not what was hoped, make sure you still commend the effort. Encourage your teen to always stay true to himself, and let it be known that he is free to explore the interests that makes him a unique individual.

Your teen is not alone in his struggles. You’re not alone either. If you feel your child is struggling with his mental wellness, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Sleep and your child’s mental health

Sleep and your child’s mental health

It’s no secret – sleep is an essential factor when it comes to your child’s overall health and development. While a few bad nights can be normal, children with persistent sleeping problems could lead to temperament, learning and social behavior issues. Below, we outline steps you can take to improve your child’s sleeping habits, ensuring they get the critical sleep they need to develop and function properly.

Bedtime bravery

For a lot of children, the looming thought of going to sleep can be anxiety-inducing. That’s why it’s important to help them face it with bravery. Try drowning out odd noises with a sound machine; illuminating the room with a night light; or re-labeling an air freshener bottle as “monster spray.” Stay consistent in helping them face their fear. If they wake up in the middle of the night, bring them back to their own bed – instead of resorting to letting them sleep in yours. In turn, celebrate your child’s good nights by using a rewards system such as a sticker chart.

Sleep environment control

Allow your child to take control of his or her bedtime routine by choosing which stuffed friend or blanket to bring to bed. Find an activity your child enjoys doing to help calm him or her before bed, such as selecting a book to read or giving him or her an after-bath back rub.

Unplug

Technology use can directly correlate with a child’s sleeping difficulties. Avoid this obstacle by asking your children to unplug at least one hour before bed. Use the hour as time for them to relax while doing quiet activities. Eliminating screens from the bedroom entirely or scheduling their screen time throughout the day can also help with your child’s difficulties winding down.

If you feel your child is struggling with sleep anxiety, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay provides the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. A healthy night’s sleep benefits the entire family unit. As most moms can attest, when children sleep better, parents sleep better! Let our clinicians help your family establish healthy sleeping habits that will ensure you all get the critical sleep needed for mental, physical and emotional health.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Have you told yourself how awesome you are today?

Have you told yourself how awesome you are today?

The impending stress of the holiday season can bring about a mix of emotions, especially to those dealing with mental health challenges. We all could benefit from reminders about how valuable we are. Sometimes, we have to be the one to give that reminder. Always remember that you have the right to feel good about who you are, and there are steps you can take to feel better about yourself. Below, we offer tips on how to boost your own self-esteem this holiday season.

Think positive thoughts

One of the first steps in changing the way we feel is changing the way we think. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones and say them out loud or in your head with full confidence. Give yourself a reminder that you are enough, and make it a daily task to mentally accept both your strengths and your flaws. You might not feel immediate results, and that’s OK. Slowly and gradually, positive self-talk will begin improving your quality of life.

Do unto others

Once you start telling yourself you matter, let others know they matter! Showing kindness and compassion to others is rewarding. Make time to volunteer, spend time helping your family or simply tell a stranger good morning. Take note of how you feel when you set aside time to focus on cultivating positive relationships with others.

Find things that make you happy

You deserve to take time to treat yourself. Find something healthy that you like doing, and do more of it. Make an effort to take time out of each day to do something you enjoy – no matter how big or small the activity.

Staying committed to boosting your own self-esteem can be difficult but definitely not impossible, and regularly talking with someone about it can help. If you’re looking for someone to talk to, our Mental Health and Substance Abuse clinicians might be who you need this winter. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

 

Can the environment impact your mental health?

Can the environment impact your mental health?

Have you ever considered the effects the environment has on your mental health? You might have noticed a correlation between dreary weather and dreary attitudes. This happens because humans have an innate awareness and need for comfortable environments – both physically comfortable and psychologically comfortable. Sometimes, it may be difficult to find those comforts during the bleak, winter months.

While you can’t control the weather, you can take control of your mental health. The weather might be gloomy, but that doesn’t mean your outlook has to be! Below, we offer ways to boost your spirits and take care of yourself this winter.

Turn on the lights

Or better yet, open the blinds and draw the curtains. Rooms with bright light – both natural and artificial – can improve health outcomes, such as depression and anxiety. Take note of how you feel once you’re surrounded by light. If you notice a positive change, make an effort to keep your house lit, to some degree, day and night.

Find activities that make you feel good

It’s easy to get caught up in a routine of work, eat, sleep and repeat. Make an effort to take time out of each day to do something you enjoy – no matter how big or small the activity. Indulge in a hobby or start a new project. Find positive activities that will help you express and control your emotions. Try painting, writing or going for a walk around your neighborhood. 

Don’t isolate yourself

Dreary days can influence a person’s motivation to act, leading to a tendency to isolate. Know that you aren’t alone. If you’re feeling blue or having a hard time getting motivated, talk to a friend or family member about it. Oftentimes, they may be experiencing similar emotions. If these emotions continue over days or weeks, making it hard for you to function, consider reaching out to a professional who can help.

In addition to the change in temperature, the impending stress of the holiday season can bring about a mix of emotions to those dealing with mental health challenges. Whether you’re battling anxiety over having to socialize without drugs or alcohol; depression over thoughts of a loved one you’ve recently lost; or discomfort about having to explain your sobriety to friends and family, don’t be discouraged – you aren’t alone!

Staying positive during the winter months can be difficult but definitely not impossible, and regularly talking with someone about it can help. If you’re looking for someone to talk to, our Mental Health and Substance Abuse counseling services might be what you need this winter. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here

Early intervention: Babies’ mental health matters

Early intervention: Babies’ mental health matters

When talking about mental health, you may only think about it affecting adults and older children, right? Did you know that babies can struggle with mental health challenges, as well?

As babies, the way we are cared for builds the foundation for our social and emotional development. The way we are treated as infants teaches us about who we are, and this strongly shapes who we will become.

It’s crucial for parents to build a strong foundation for social and emotional development during the first three years of an infant’s life because it’s on this foundation that future learning and relationships will be built. Below, we offer tips on how to promote strong, positive mental wellness in your young child.

Engage in affectionate and nurturing interactions

Holding, singing, rocking or talking to infants are interactions that might seem natural to parents. But, these exchanges are more fundamental to a child’s development than one might know. These connections provide your child with the stimulation his or her growing brain needs. Positive interactions send messages to your baby that he or she is valued. As a result, your child will grow up knowing to treat others in a similar manner.

Study your child’s behavior

How often do you truly observe not only what your child is doing but also why he or she is doing it? Taking time to study a child’s behavior can tell us a lot. It offers clues on what stressors make your child tick, which allows you to deduce why they behave as they do. This knowledge will help you respond to certain behaviors in a way that is productive and supports positive development. For example, children might bite to express feelings of frustration. Understanding the underlying cause of the biting will help you develop an effective response. It might be that your child lacks the language skills necessary for expressing his or her needs.

Accept and learn from the challenges

We won’t sugar coat it – raising a child is difficult. There are daily challenges both you and your child must face together. But, it’s important to realize that challenges are a natural and important part of a child’s development. Challenging times help you learn what does and doesn’t work for your child – because every child is unique. Going through certain experiences – and then learning from those experiences – is a critical part of the development process, as it teaches children problem-solving skills, builds self-confidence and engrains coping techniques.

If you’re seeking guidance on how to positively develop your young child, we encourage you to contact South Bay Community Services to set up sessions with one of our Early Intervention clinicians. During these sessions, our clinicians strive to operate from a place of strength. Our approach is to help families identify their own strengths so they are empowered to foster their children’s growth and development.

We understand it can be difficult to reach out for help when it comes to raising and developing your child. Know that seeking guidance does not make you a bad parent – it shows you are a proactive parent who is responsive to the needs of your child. It’s common for parents to learn how to raise a child based on their own experiences as children. In turn, many parents may have wished their early environments were different. Our clinicians work to help families develop positive approaches. The family’s effort with the support of our Early Intervention team will help to ensure growth, stability and well-being during a child’s early years. Let us help you and your child have the best possible beginning!

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Let’s talk: How to discuss your behavioral health illness

Let’s talk: How to discuss your behavioral health illness

You’ve been diagnosed with a behavioral health illness. What do you tell people? How do you share? Who do you tell?

You may have mixed emotions over these questions, and that’s perfectly fine. Know that being scared is normal, and anticipating how friends, family, coworkers etc. will react to your diagnosis is natural.

The decision to openly talk about your diagnosis is a personal one, and you don’t have to share until you’re ready. Do realize, however, that you may never be 100 percent ready. Think about it – are we ever 100 percent ready to do anything that’s difficult in life? But, stepping out of your comfort zone, knowing you have people who are there for you and facing your fears head-on, will likely help you move forward in your journey toward recovery.

Below, we offer some advice to keep in mind when preparing to discuss a mental health diagnosis.

It’s just an illness.
It’s plain and simple. You live with it just like any other person with an illness – diabetes, for example – lives with it. And, just like any other illness, it can be managed and treated once identified.

Most people just need to be educated.
Approach your conversations knowing you’re educating those around you about mental health – not telling them what’s ‘wrong’ with you. The truth of the matter is, most people simply don’t understand mental illnesses because they’ve never been taught the ins and outs. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to learn or hear what you have to say. Remember – it’s just an illness and does not define you. Explain this to them.

You choose who you’re surrounded by.
There’s really no rule for who you need to tell because you get to choose who knows about your behavioral health illness. Choose to be surrounded by people who will support you on the good days and the bad. Need someone to help you decide who this is in your life? A mental health professional, such as a South Bay clinician, can guide you through this decision.

If you’re looking for further guidance on how to talk about your behavioral health illness, consider speaking to a South Bay clinician. Our mental health and substance abuse clinicians treat each individual with specific programs tailored to their needs. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.