Help available for depressed teens, parents

Article published by The Murray Valley Standard 18 May 2015

Parents concerned about their children’s mental health have a new avenue through which to find help.

HeadspaceYouth mental health organisation Headspace has extended its support line to parents, as well as adolescents, after publication of research found family members influenced young people who were considering seeking help for their problems.

After compiling responses from 31,000 young people across Australia, Headspace chief scientific advisor Debra Rickwood found 12 to 15-year-olds, especially boys, were more likely to seek help if family members recommended it.

Headspace chief executive officer Chris Tanti said parents were often the first people to notice something amiss with their children.

“Parents are key in driving young people to get the right support at the right time...but they often don’t know how or when to approach it,” he said.

“Parents might notice changes in their child’s behaviour over a period of time ... however, what we consistently hear from parents is that it can be difficult to know whether to put this behaviour down to regular teenage moodiness or an emerging mental health problem that needs to be addressed.”

Mental health problems were the number one issue 5 to 25-year-olds reported to the Kids Helpline, a separate organisation, in 2014.

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