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Anxiety: How can I help my teen?

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Anxiety: How can I help my teen?

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Anxiety: How can I help my teen?

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Ask a Child and Family Professional

Question: My daughter has anxiety but won’t see a psychologist. How can I encourage her to get help?




Our experience is that young people are less likely than any other age group to seek professional help. Imagine being a teenager with anxiety, and then being asked to share your inner secrets with a psychologist, a counsellor or another professional. That is scary enough for adults let alone teenagers.


Here’s a few tips that I often give parents:


1. Speak with a parenting expert, sharpen your skills and learn some of the tools of the trade. You are in a unique position to support your teen, particularly at this stage when they are not yet ready to speak with a professional. Is there someone in your teen’s school that can support you? Or do you have a good relationship with your GP? If you don’t have someone in your current support network you can book in a session with the ReachOut Parents One on One Support Service


2. Invite your teenager to explore other options that may feel a little safer, such as an online or phone counselling services, or joining a forum with other teens with similar experiences and challenges.


3. Never push your teenager to see a professional. Invite them instead. For example: “Do you think it could be helpful to see a psychologist? No? That’s ok, can I check-in with you in a couple of weeks and see how you feel about it then?”


4. Find time to connect with your teen in a way that works for them. That could be going for a walk, heading out for a coffee, or simply sitting on the couch together.


5. If your teen is showing early warning signs of struggling with their mental health, they might find it helpful to begin using mindfulness or meditation techniques. Suggest the ReachOut Breath app or the ReachOut Worry Time app. Remember to educate yourself on what normal teenage behaviour looks like and what concerning behaviour looks like.


You might find this video helpful: check it out here 


If your teen has begun self-harming or thinking about suicide, seek support immediately. Mental Health professionals will help you develop strategies and safety plans to keep your teen safe.



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We also partner with The Benevolent Society to offer free personalised one-on-one support for parents and carers of teens over the phone and online.

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