COLORADO SPRINGS — September is National Suicide Prevention Month, so Parenting Teens Mentor, Kristen Duke, spoke with FOX21 Morning News about the importance of talking with teens about their mental health.

Duke said it is important to listen to your teens and respond in the most effective manner. “Natural responses like; ‘that’s not true, you’re so smart, you’re beautiful, you got so many great things,’ and in that moment, they just need that validation,” said Duke.

“They need to hear instead; ‘I hate that you feel that way, or, that must feel exhausting, tell me more about it;’ asking questions, getting curious, and kind of digging a little deeper, because when you go into rescue mode, it just dismisses the feelings that they are having,” said Duke.

Duke also said she encourages affirmations for teens, and having them say things that develop forward thinking and a growth mindset.

“No, you’re not here yet, adding ‘yet’ on the end of a statement… and focus on effort rather than outcome,” said Duke.

If your child is struggling, it is important to reach out to a professional for help. However, there are some activities parents can do with their teens to help.

“Sunshine is always the best… helping them with some good meals… just striving to have fun together as a family and not always focusing on what they should be doing,” said Duke.

For more parenting tips, you can find information here.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there is help right now. For 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).