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The Crucial Role of Family in Youth Mental Health

Youth Mental Health

Mental Health



Young people between the ages of 12 and 25 often experience significant mental health challenges. During these times, family plays a crucial role in providing support and guidance. This case study explores the vital importance of involving families in the mental health care of young people and offers actionable steps for both individuals and organisations to enhance this involvement.

The Role of Family in Mental Health Support

Families are often the first to notice changes in a young person's behaviour or emotions that may signal mental health or substance use issues. They also frequently encourage the young person to seek help or attempt to access support services on their behalf. Despite this critical role, families often feel unprepared and isolated in their efforts to support their loved ones.

Challenges Faced by Families

  1. Fear and Shame

    : Young people may feel ashamed or fearful of discussing their mental health struggles with their family. This can create a barrier to seeking help and support.

  2. Lack of Awareness: Families often lack knowledge about available mental health services and resources that can support them and their young person.

  3. Confidentiality Concerns: Navigating the balance between maintaining a young person's confidentiality and involving family in their care can be challenging for clinicians.

Benefits of Family Involvement

Research indicates that involving family in a young person’s mental health treatment can lead to:

  • Improved psychological adjustment and quality of life

  • Quicker recovery processes

  • Enhanced family interactions

  • Decreased parental stress

Actionable Steps for Individuals and Families

  1. Open Communication: Encourage open and honest conversations about mental health within the family. Normalise discussing emotions and mental health challenges to reduce stigma.

  2. Education and Awareness: Families should educate themselves about mental health issues and available resources. This can include attending workshops, reading relevant materials, and connecting with support groups.

  3. Support Seeking: Encourage young people to seek professional help when needed. Families can assist by researching and identifying appropriate services, such as counselling or mental health clinics

Actionable Steps for Organisations

  1. Family Inclusive Practices: Organisations should adopt family inclusive practices that actively involve families in the treatment process. This includes welcoming families to participate in care planning and offering family therapy sessions when appropriate.

  2. Training and Education for Clinicians: Provide training for clinicians on the importance of family involvement and how to engage families effectively. This should cover strategies for maintaining confidentiality while involving families in the young person’s care.

  3. Creating a Welcoming Environment: Ensure that the organisational environment is welcoming to families. This can be achieved through family-friendly spaces, clear communication of services, and availability of resources tailored for families.

  4. Community Engagement: Engage with the wider community to raise awareness about the importance of family involvement in mental health care. This can be done through community events, informational sessions, and partnerships with local organisations.

Involving families in the mental health care of young people is essential for their recovery and well-being. By addressing the challenges families face and implementing supportive strategies, both individuals and organisations can foster a more inclusive and effective approach to mental health care. This collaborative effort not only benefits the young person but also strengthens the overall support system, leading to better outcomes for everyone involved.

To learn more about how you can support families with teens enrol now in Engaging Adolescents CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


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