Getting help can be daunting for anyone but especially for a child — they may not know what to expect and may be fearful of being judged if they seek help.
Practitioners have a significant role to play in encouraging a child to get help and support. Remind them that seeking help, while scary, is an act of courage and hope.
Show the child that there are plenty of child-friendly resources. Children can read talking about depression, while young people can visit headspace. Those who find it difficult to seek help face-to-face, who cannot access a service, or want to get information or talk to someone can do so via:
Sources of help
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
headpsace 1800 650 890
Online counselling services
Overcoming reluctance to get help
The more understanding there is about what is getting in the way of children seeking help, the more supports can help them heal.
Talk to them about any previous times they turned to a friend, family member or professional for help with their worries or mental health issues.
Try to answer the following questions through talking with the child:
- What was their experience of trying to get help in the past?
- Did they feel judged or understood? Or heard and supported? Or a bit of both?
- Were there negative consequences for them? Or positive outcomes? Or a bit of both?
- What did they find useful?
- What did not work for them?
Ask about a time they did something that scared them:
- What helped them follow through, even if they were worried?
- What did they learn from the experience that could be helpful now?
- What can you learn about what they’ve told you?
- What can you do to get them help?
- Can you help them make a call or go with them to an appointment?
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