Confident Connections: Youth Mental Health Resources for Parents and Caregivers   - Action for Healthy Kids
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Confident Connections: Youth Mental Health Resources for Parents and Caregivers  

Welcome! Confident Connections is a collection of resources designed for parents and caregivers of children in grades K-12 to learn about and support youth mental health.  

Supporting youth mental health is firmly grounded in a strong relationship – a confident connection – between parent and child.  

The Resources 

To make our resources as accessible, practical, and specific to this goal of building a confident connection as possible, we have organized the collection into Say, Do, and Learn:  

Say: Strategies for engaging your children in meaningful conversations  

When parents and children have a strong relationship and have practice having authentic conversations, parents are more likely to feel confident in their ability to support their child’s mental health, get professional help when needed, and celebrate their child’s growth and resilience. These resources give parents developmentally-appropriate guidance for navigating conversations related to youth mental health such as dealing with grief, addressing racism, and preventing suicide.  

Do: Activities to connect with your children in authentic and meaningful ways 

When parents and children have a healthy connection built on trust and respect, children’s mental health is strengthened. Both parents and children will be better equipped to practice coping skills for dealing with life’s stressors and better able to support one another in joyful and in challenging times.  

Learn: Information to deepen parents’ understanding of youth mental health  

When parents and caregivers have information about topics related to mental health such as suicide, grief, developmental milestones, and social skills, they are better equipped to support their child’s overall mental well-being, to identify when there is a serious concern, and to know how to find additional resources and support.  

What is mental health?  

Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how we make and keep relationships, how we express our feelings, how we make decisions, and how we manage the stresses, challenges, and joys of life. It is influenced by our environment, experiences, and backgrounds. It is also deeply connected to physical health: our mental health can affect our physical health, and our physical health can impact our mental health. For example, having depression (a mental health condition) can increase a person’s risk for heart disease (a physical illness), and having diabetes (a physical illness) can increase a person’s risk for anxiety (a mental health condition).  

Mental health itself is not good or bad; it is one dimension of well-being. Just as parents learn to recognize some basic signs of physical illness like fever, rash, or cough, we can also learn some basic signs that our children may be struggling with a condition that’s impacting their mental health like loneliness, anxiety, or depression.  

Mental health is relevant to everyone and at every stage of life. A person’s mental health can change over time and may be influenced by life circumstances and events, hormonal changes, genetic factors, relationships, medical conditions, and alcohol or drug use. 

Social-emotional wellness is related to mental health because it has to do with the skills and strategies that people use to identify and manage their thoughts and feelings, establish and maintain their relationships, cope with challenge and adversity, and make healthy short- and long-term decisions. 

Where did this campaign come from? 

The topics for these resources were inspired by 2 nationwide surveys of parents and caregivers, a series of caregiver focus groups, and our Parent Advisory Board. You can read more about our survey and focus group findings here.


This project on Improving Mental, Behavioral and Academic Supports to Students and Families, Part 2 is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $434,555 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.