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Parents – talk to your kids about mental health. Even if it’s awkward.

by Hannah Jane Parkinson, The Guardian, 1 December 2015

Young people are especially vulnerable in dealing with mental illness. Families need to be ready, willing and able to talk about it.

There are many things it’s difficult to talk about with parents. Mental health, apparently, is one of them. Given that one in 10 young people experience mental health issues, it is worrying that 55% of parents in the UK have not discussed mental health at all with their children, according to a new study from the Department of Health and Time to Change. Even more shocking is that 45% of parents interviewed said they haven’t had this conversation because mental health “is not an issue”.

More than 850,000 children aged between 5 and 16 in the UK have a mental illness. Child and adolescent mental health services are struggling with soaring referrals and admissions. It is thought that half of diagnosable conditions manifest before the age of 14 and 75% by 21. A study in October found 62% of teens had searched for information about depression on the internet.

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