How adults can support children’s mental health when returning to school

22 January 2023

Professor Vanessa Cobham from UQ’s School of Psychology featured on The House of Wellness Radio show discussing how to support children’s mental health when returning to the classroom.

The segment spoke about signs of school refusal and anxiety and how to have conversations with young people.

Professor Cobham said school refusal or reluctance can be a symptom of anxiety of distress.

“You will get some kids who flat out tell you they don’t want to go to school and the most common sign is feeling unwell," Professor Cobham said. 

"A really important thing I want to say to parents is that when kids are telling you they are feeling sick they are not putting it on or they are not trying to manipulate you- they are telling you the truth, they genuinely do feel sick, it’s just what I would describe and 'worry sick' as opposed to 'doctor sick'.

Professor Cobham recommended assessing the attitude you use as an adult communicating to a child and suggested using language such as ‘I’m on your side’, ‘I’m here to listen when you want to talk’ and ‘I’m here to help you figure out solutions to your problems.’

“The second part is then trying to figure out what is causing the anxiety.”

The full interview runs from the 5:50 mark. 

Listen to the episode