How Can We Support Child and Teen Mental Health?

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Kids lead busy lives—and with the pandemic, it seems as if things are changing on any given day. With the unpredictability of COVID-19, school, extracurricular activities, and more, children and adolescents may be struggling to feel like they have any control. Adults are juggling all of the same turmoil—so checking in on how your children are feeling may not be happening as often as you’d like.

How do we help manage the stress our loved ones are feeling while keeping our own stress levels in check? How can we provide mental health support for kids and teens? And when is it time for family members to talk to a mental health provider?

Audience Questions

Fairlee C. Fabrett, PhD, shares ways to support child and adolescent mental health, offers tips to initiate conversations about well-being, and answers audience questions about caring for loved ones while also caring for ourselves.

  • What does mental health support look like for kids? How can supporting mental health of our children vary depending on their age?
  • What are some ways that we can help our kids discover their identity without projecting our own perception on to them?
  • How do we know when our kids need more or less routine?
  • What are some ways that we can check in on our loved ones to let them know we’re supportive of them without being too prying?
  • How can we provide mental health support for kids and teens in other ways than just talking to them?
  • How can we balance and address support for different kids who have different needs?
  • If our partner is the one our kids tend to go to with whatever they need, how can we turn this into a team effort versus a solo endeavor by a parent?
  • How do we help manage the stress our loved ones are feeling while keeping our own stress levels in check?
  • My 6-year-old seems to get frustrated a lot with being “perfect” and if she fails, she goes into tantrum mode. Any suggestions for how to handle this?
  • Are there signs or symptoms that parents should be on the lookout for that may indicate their child isn’t getting the support they need?
  • Any tips for parents trying to approach the thought of “maybe you should talk to a mental health professional,” especially if there is some stigma present?
  • My adult daughter is always angry at me. She blames me for all her faults. I am constantly trying to make up for the mistakes I have made when she was younger, and I feel like her challenges are my fault. How can I forgive myself and move forward without this guilt?
  • Depending on the culture that a family descends from, are there major differences in what support looks, feels, sounds like that can impact a child’s mental health?
  • How can a child or teen seek more support if there isn’t a history of support already established?
  • One of my jobs is going into high schools and talking about mental health. What do you think are key points to mention to these teens in the 60-minute sessions?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.

About Dr. Fabrett

Fairlee C. Fabrett, PhD, is the director of training and staff development for McLean’s child and adolescent division. She is also the director of McLean’s post-baccalaureate clinical fellowship, through which she provides supervision and mentorship to recent undergraduates. Dr. Fabrett has extensive experience in evidence-based assessment and treatment for depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders (including ADHD) in children and adolescents.

A native of Mexico, Dr. Fabrett also has experience in providing culturally sensitive and effective treatments for individuals and families of minority groups, including family conflict and the way cognitive and family processes operate differently among minority populations.

Learn more about Dr. Fabrett.

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It’s important to think about ways to manage your mental health. McLean is committed to providing mental health and self-care resources for all who may need them. You and your family may find these strategies from McLean experts helpful to feel mentally balanced in your everyday lives.

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Originally aired on March 1, 2022