Do you know what a trusted adult is?
Delaney Wells, CPS
Within our County, we have been receiving many questions about suicide and prevention measures. We wanted to take this opportunity to address how we as adults can play an important role in the lives of adolescents that we care for.
Q.) What is a trusted adult?
A.) A trusted adult is someone that you have built a trusting relationship with. Trusted adults are people who provide support and can be confided in. Typically, a trusted adult will give support and advice with the intent of keeping a child or adolescent safe and away from harm. A trusted adult will have a child, adolescent or teen’s best interest in mind. A trusted adult could be any active member in an adolescent’s life. Some examples of a trusted adult could be a parent, family member, coach, teacher, mentor, counselor or caregiver. Someone that can take on a role as a trusted adult decreases the likelihood that a child or individual will experience depression, anxiety, or stress.
Q.) How do trusted adults help provide support for youth?
A.) A trusted adult can help an individual in many ways. One way in which a trusted adult could provide support is by listening nonjudgmentally. By listening nonjudgmentally, you give an adolescent or child the opportunity to be honest and truthful and express their concerns and problems as they occur. In turn, this honest relationship allows the child to feel heard and understood. Trusted adults may also be the one to provide a youth in need with the appropriate access to resources for help.
Q.) Why is it important for a child or adolescent to have a trusted adult in their life?
A.) Trusted adults play an important role in decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health help and substance use. If a child or adolescent is able to speak openly about behaviors they are experiencing or emotions that they are feeling then early intervention can be applied. Early intervention is so important because the earlier that an adult can witness signs and symptoms for a child in need the earlier they will be able to receive help. This is critical because this allows the opportunity to recover from substance use or mental anguish. If early intervention and help are not received promptly a child could continue on to develop a more severe mental illness, addiction or even co-occurring disorders. Trusted adults are key factors in witnessing the associated signs and symptoms with adolescence experiencing mental health concerns such as the use of drugs, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Q.) How can you identify trusted adults in your life? How do you know if you are someone’s trusted adult?
A.) A trusted adult is a person who is consistent in your life. Trusted adults are identified based on the needs that you express and who is reliable to you. While for some adolescents a trusted adult might be a parent or family member, but that might not always be the case. For some youth, a trusted adult could be a guardian, teacher, coach, activity director, babysitter, doctor or another type of medical professional.
Southwest Counseling Service- Mental Health, Recovery, Medical, & Children, Adolescent & Family Services. (307) 352-6677
Sweetwater County Prevention Coalition- Underage Alcohol use, Adult Alcohol Overconsumption, Tobacco, Suicide, Opioids and Other drugs. ([email protected])
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