headspace extends phone line to support parents

headspace has extended its phone line to support parents who are concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of their child.

headspace CEO, Chris Tanti said having resources available for parents via the phone is important as they are usually the first ones to notice there may be something not quite right with their son or daughter.

"The headspace phone line provides an avenue for parents to get valuable information while navigating the difficult time during adolescence," Mr Tanti said. "We want Australian mums and dads to know they don't have to do it alone. There is support available and headspace is the place to go - whether it be face-to-face, online or over the phone."

The phone line (1800 650 890) is available to parents between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and is staffed by qualified youth mental health professionals.

In addition to the phone line, headspace.org.au has been updated with tools and resources to help support parents who are concerned about their child, including videos with professional advice from headspace psychologists to help parents identify warning signs and have tricky conversations.

The new resources for parents aligns with a national radio and print campaign designed to help parents recognise the early warning signs that their son or daughter may need support for a mental health problem. Find a digital copy of the campaign information brochure here.

The campaign shows it can be difficult to recognise mental health problems in teenagers, however parents are in a good position to notice mood and behaviour changes that indicate something might be wrong. Mr Tanti said parents don't need to be able to solve all the problems, but noticing subtle changes and signs that something isn't right is a good first step.

headspace tips for parents:

• Talk openly and honestly with your son/daughter and ask what they need from you.

• Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling - be patient and listen to their fears and concerns.

• If they are distressed, don't tell them to 'just calm down' or 'get over it' - they need to be taken seriously.

• Avoid judgment and reassure them that you will be there for them no matter what.

• Let them know if they don't want to talk to you, there's lots of help available.

• Support them in seeking help and talking to health professionals, such as at a headspace centre, if that is what they prefer.

For more tips and information visit the parents section of the headspace Website.

Parents can call the headspace number 1800 650 890 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.