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headspace and Monash University want to help you better support your teenager

3 min read

With parents, the most common source of emotional support for young people, headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation and Monash University have launched an online parenting program to equip families with the confidence they need to care for their young people’s mental health. 

headspace research shows four in five (81%) young people aged 12-25 would seek support from their mothers if they were experiencing a personal or emotional challenge. Young people also told headspace they would approach fathers (60%) for support in tough times.1 

Acknowledging the vital role parents play in their young person’s mental wellbeing, headspace and Monash University have worked together to launch ‘Partners in Parenting’: an education tool to guide families through ways they can care for their young people’s mental health. 

Partners in Parenting offers ten self-directed modules to adults supporting young people, which can be completed in their own time, at their own pace. Topics covered in these modules include understanding anxiety and depression, developing healthy habits and connecting with your young person. 

headspace National Clinical Advisor, Deb Mountjoy says: “Family is an integral part of a young person’s circle of care. Family members have good knowledge of the young person and are usually in the best position to support them through challenging times. 

“But it can sometimes be difficult to know what to do or say, or where to go for more information. 

“We want parents to know that it’s OK to seek guidance and feel confident to have conversations about mental health with their young person and offer meaningful support.” 

headspace National Family Reference Group member Kim Edgar, from Geelong, has lived experience of supporting her children with their mental health challenges. 

“As your young person grows from child to adolescent, it can be difficult to know how best to support them. 

“Partners in Parenting provides parents with the skills they need to adapt to a young person’s needs, during what can be a very challenging and confusing time of their life. 

“It helps to unpack and understand what is happening during adolescence and provides insight into when and why challenges may arise. 

“Life can become extraordinarily busy, but as the program is online and self-directed, you can complete it at your own pace and during times that suit you.” 

Professor Marie Yap from the Monash School of Psychological Sciences and the Turner institute for Brain and Mental Health said: “Partners in Parenting is based on decades of research about how parents and carers can best support their young person’s mental health and has already benefited thousands of families across Australia.” 

“Young mental health has been a global concern for years, especially due to the pandemic. It is so timely that carers of young people in Australia can now be empowered to address this concern right in their own home.” 

Action Lab, based at Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology, was entrusted with the digital aspect of the design, development, and deployment of the program. 

Research Fellow Dr Grace Xie from Action Lab said while creating the digital toolkits for Partners in Parenting, there was a strong focus on designing interactive and personalised user experiences tailored for parents’ individual needs. 

“The endeavour was to make mental health support easily understandable and accessible, which ensures that parents can gain easy access through different devices including their mobile phones,” Dr Xie said. 

“We also paid very close attention to making sure any data captured would be completely private and secure.” 

Learn more about Partners in Parenting via the headspace website. 

For more information and resources for family and friends, or to join a group chat with other parents, visit online-and-phone-support or call 1800 650 890. You can also search for your nearest headspace centre online or contact Parent HelpLine. 

Young people aged 12 to 25, as well as their family and friends can visit headspace for support. Help is also available via phone and online counselling service, eheadspace, seven days a week between 9am–1am (AEST). The number is 1800 650 890. 

If you’re looking for someone to talk to immediately, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk 24/7. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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