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How parents can manage their teenager’s mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak

Practicing social distancing does not come easily to teenagers. Risking becoming what may be perceived as an ‘outcast’ is probably one of the biggest punishments a teen may feel. Provide a benefit to social distancing such as, for example, being able to do a task they highly value. This will provide an incentive to follow through with distancing rather than make it a punishment to try and avoid.

Explore ways to maintain a teenager’s mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak:

Explain the nature of anxiety to your teen

Anxiety is an essential emotion we all feel in response to a threat. It will bring about a response that affects all parts of our body, our thinking, and our behaviour. When anxiety is managed it can be helpful – allowing us to harness its protective nature to spur us into positive health management.

Help them to develop positive self-care behaviours to maintain health and hygiene

This will build their confidence in their ability to protect themselves and learn to take responsible action.

Help them to challenge negative thoughts that may make them overestimate dangers, leading to difficulties such as over-thinking and over worrying

This means providing them with facts to minimise fear. Make sure these facts are from a trusted, scientific source.

Help them regulate the amount of information they have access to through the news, social media and online

Misinformation spreads fast and an ‘infodemic’ is as unhealthy to the mind as a pandemic may be to a nation.

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