The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Charity Appeal -

“When par­ents call they’re of­ten tear­ful, an­gry or at a loss,” says helpline man­ager Emma Sad­dle­ton. “So we ‘peel back’ the prob­lem us­ing a five-phase tech­nique.”

1 Iden­tify the child’s be­hav­iour, symp­toms and ar­eas of con­cern: what is the child do­ing? “Many par­ents want val­i­da­tion and to know that they’re not over­re­act­ing,” says Sad­dle­ton.

2 Es­tab­lish time­lines: “What’s hap­pen­ing, when did it start, how long has it been go­ing on for, when did it es­ca­late? It’s also good to have time­lines when speak­ing to health pro­fes­sion­als.”

3 Ex­plore trig­gers and con­tribut­ing fac­tors: “Some par­ents know why their child is be­hav­ing a cer­tain way,” says Sad­dle­ton. “Oth­ers will be at a to­tal loss, and we un­der­stand that. We may ask whether there have been any changes at school, any bul­ly­ing, a be­reave­ment or aca­demic pres­sure on the child.”

4 Check ser­vice in­volve­ment: Who shares your con­cerns? Is there a di­ag­no­sis for your child? Or a treat­ment plan? Are teach­ers or GPS aware of the prob­lem?

5 Clar­ify what the caller wants: “We’re not just a lis­ten­ing ser­vice,” says Sad­dle­ton. “We will give par­ents buck­et­loads of em­pa­thy and val­i­da­tion, but we want them to go away with a plan to help them ac­cess the ser­vices they need.”

Young­minds’ Par­ents Helpline is free and con­fi­den­tial. Call 0808 802 5544 or visit young­minds.org.uk

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