Empowering Families to Support Teens: A New Online Parenting Course

Equipping families to better support teenagers

Monash University and headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation have joined forces to introduce an online parenting program aimed at bolstering parents’ capacity to care for their teenagers’ mental well-being.

With research from headspace indicating that 80% of young people aged 12-25 turn to their mothers for emotional support during personal challenges, and fathers also serving as crucial sources of support in tough times, it’s evident that parents play a pivotal role in their children’s emotional health.

Self-directed Online Course

Recognizing the significance of parental involvement in adolescents’ mental well-being, Monash University and headspace have introduced “Partners in Parenting,” an educational tool tailored to guide families in nurturing their teenagers’ mental health. This program comprises ten self-paced modules designed for adults supporting young individuals, covering topics such as comprehending anxiety and depression, fostering healthy habits, and establishing connections with your teenager.

Professor Marie Yap, affiliated with the Monash School of Psychological Sciences and the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, highlighted that “Partners in Parenting” is grounded in decades of research on effective strategies for parents and caregivers to support their children’s mental health. This initiative has already proved beneficial to numerous families throughout Australia. In the face of mounting concerns about youth mental health, exacerbated by the global pandemic, this program enables caregivers to address these issues in the comfort of their own homes.

The digital development of “Partners in Parenting” was entrusted to Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology’s Action Lab. Dr. Grace Xie, a Research Fellow from Action Lab, emphasized their commitment to creating interactive and personalized user experiences tailored to meet the specific needs of parents. This approach ensures that mental health support is easily comprehensible and accessible through various devices, including mobile phones while maintaining strict data privacy and security measures.

Equipping parents with the skills needed

Deb Mountjoy, headspace National Clinical Advisor, stressed the integral role of family in a young person’s circle of care. Family members possess valuable insights into the individual needs of young people, making them ideally positioned to provide support during challenging times. However, it is common for parents to feel uncertain about how to approach conversations on mental health with their children or where to access reliable information.

Kim Edgar, a member of headspace National Family Reference Group and a parent from Geelong with firsthand experience in supporting her children’s mental health, highlighted the challenges of navigating the transition from childhood to adolescence. She emphasized that “Partners in Parenting” equips parents with the skills needed to adapt to the changing needs of their teenagers during this critical phase of life. The program facilitates an understanding of the adolescent experience, shedding light on the potential causes and timing of challenges.

Moreover, “Partners in Parenting” offers flexibility, as it is an online, self-directed program that allows parents to complete it at their own pace, fitting it into their busy schedules while addressing their teenagers’ mental health needs effectively.

To learn more about Partners in Parenting, please visit this website.