ask, listen, talk

Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World. Change can be an energising, positive force in our lives. It can also be disconcerting for young people who are experiencing a great deal of change all at once. 

Cyber-bullying, an over-reliance on social media, insecure employment prospects, exam stress, a focus on body image, eating disorders and alcohol/substance misuse are some of the issues that make growing up in this rapidly changing world so challenging.

Here are some ideas for parents, carers, coaches, youth workers or anyone interested in helping to support young people.


– Don’t be embarrassed to ASK questions and build your knowledge of issues affecting young people. Understanding an issue will make you feel more confident to talk about it.

SpunOutParenting NI and Young Minds have resources for adults and young people.


– Start the conversation you may have been avoiding. Even if it makes you feel awkward.

– LISTEN to what you hear with an open mind.


– Let the young person in your life know that it’s ok to TALK about feelings and emotions.

– Regularly talk about what’s happening in their life and focus on how it makes them feel.

Our ASK LISTEN TALK advice note from the Change Your Mind campaign offers more tips on how to start conversations about mental health.

The Minding Your HeadPublic Health Agency and Royal College of Psychiatrists websites have lots of information on mental health and services available across Northern Ireland and the yourmentalhealth and Health Promotion websites provide similar information for those in the Republic of Ireland.