Information for Parents and Carers – Looking after your Daughter’s Mental Health

It is often difficult to detect the difference between symptoms related to normal adolescent development, such as occasional moodiness and irritability, and an emerging mental health problem. A  number of students experience stress, anxiety or depression due to increased workload, friendship changes, family conflict/changes, and assessments and exams. If a young person is going through a difficult time, it is important that they get the support from family, friends and health professionals if required.

Good mental health is about being able to study and work to your full potential, cope with day to day life stresses and be able to live in a satisfying and meaningful way. Despite the fact that emotions such as feeling down, tense or angry are normal emotions for young people, if they persist for long periods and interfere in daily functioning it can be part of a mental health problem. As a result, the ability to function at school and in their personal relationships can be compromised.

Warning Signs:

  • Reduced enjoyment and participation in activities they used to enjoy
  • Withdrawing or isolating (i.e. spending significant time in their room)
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Easily irritated or angry for no reason
  • Underperforming or not attending school
  • Poor motivation
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Increased risky behaviours i.e. drugs, alcohol, acting out, self-harm.
  • Difficulties with concentration and focus
  • Unusually stressed, worried, down or crying for no reason
  • Expressing negative, distressing or unusual thoughts
  • Prolonged and persistent low mood, moodiness or irritability

How to help:

  • Keep communication open
  • Show empathy and avoid judgement
  • Be available without being intrusive
  • Spend quality time with the person
  • Take the person’s feelings seriously
  • Encourage and support positive friendships
  • Encourage activities that promote mental health
  • Give positive feedback
  • Let the person know that you love them and that you are proud of them
  • Seek professional help if required (Counselling, Headspace, Psychological treatment, GP)

Please review the document below for tools to help manage teenage anxiety.

 

 

BETHANY’S COUNSELLING SERVICES

Bethany College provides counselling services to students as part of the pastoral program. This service reflects the values of the Bethany College tradition, with particular emphasis on supporting positive well-being.

As a Clinical Psychologist, I have extensive experience in working with adolescents supporting them with various challenges as they embark on a journey of self-discovery. My role at Bethany College is to: provide short term counselling and support for students (i.e. stress management, study skill, self-understanding/self-esteem, improving anxiety management… just to name a few); liaising with external support services so we can provide continued support in school; crisis intervention; and support parents in linking students in with external services (if required). I also work closely with the Principal, Assistant Principal, Leader of Well-being and Year Coordinators to provide the best all round support for students on every level and am mindful of the benefits of a team approach to welfare and support.

All students are welcome to access the counselling service, with the expectation of a high level of support, trust and privacy. Students are welcome to self-refer, or can be referred directly by parents or Year Coordinators. Parents need to advise the school in writing if they do not want their daughters to access counselling. If you would like to speak with me, as the College Counsellor, I can be contacted via email (k.stratilas@syd.catholic.edu.au) or through the school’s main switchboard 8566 0711.

 

Katerina Hatzikonstantis

School Counsellor