Blue Shield of California Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Nicole Stelter was recently featured in a San Jose Mercury News “SV Chat” profile. The Q&A interview, which touched on Dr. Stelter’s recent Back-to-School Mental Health Tips, answered key questions, including:
- When and how should parents start talking to their kids about mental health?
- This is the second year of kids going back to school since COVID, and we’ve heard a lot of discussions about how COVID has challenged young people’s mental health. What are the specific concerns that have arisen in the past few years?
- What are the specific mental health concerns that are the most common, and that parents should be looking out for?
Here's an excerpt:
Q: How can parents model good mental health habits for their kids?
A: I think we forget that this is part of how we teach our kids.
We can be open about our own health. If you think about your physical health, you would talk about something that’s going on for you, a medical concern, so this is very, very similar.
What gets a little tricky is, there’s a boundary in there as a parent. If I’m stressed out because I’m worried about my kids, what can happen is our kids can take that on. And we don’t want that, they’re working through their own stuff.
You can say “work has been really hard lately,” or “I’ve been having a lot of stress,” and “here’s what I’m doing about it.”
The most important thing you would want your kid to hear is, “and here is how I’m taking care of myself,” and that it is OK to do that. I’m putting myself and my health first, just in the same way I want you to do.
Read the full San Jose Mercury News story here (subscription may be required).
Click here to learn more about Blue Shield’s BlueSky youth mental health initiative.