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The Sound It Out Campaign launches its 'Conversation Starter Pack' | Health Smart

The Sound It Out Campaign released its "Conversation Starter Pack" to make it easier for families to communicate emotions.

YORK, Pa. — May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and it comes at a time when the American Academy of Pediatrics has declared a National State of Emergency regarding children's mental health.

According to experts, a key way to support kids' mental health is for parents and caregivers to have regular check-ins and help them openly express how they're feeling. 

"It's important to help our kids develop the vocabulary to be able to express what they're thinking and what they're feeling," Dr. Regina Miranda, a professor of psychology at Hunter College said.

She says these conversations aren't always easy to start, so the Ad Council's "Sound It Out Campaign" hopes to help, with the release of a "Conversation Starter Pack." 

"It includes questions for reflection, it includes dialogue to have more meaningful and deeper conversations with our young people to know what they are experiencing," Dr. Miranda said.

The Sound It Out Campaign was launched a year ago and it uses the power of music to help kids better communicate how they're feeling.

"The idea is to use music because sometimes you can't find the words and when you can't find the words, there might be a song lyric that may help you express what you're feeling," she said.

Dr. Miranda said it's never too early to talk to your kids about suicide or depression, but the starter pack is geared towards kids in middle school. She also said you can help them further by talking about your own feelings and emotions to them, to help normalize the experience.

"Sometimes when you're not feeling well, not feeling emotionally well, if you feel like you're alone in that, if can feel like you're a burden," she said. "You're not a burden just because you're not doing well." 

Dr. Miranda suggests starting with the conversation guide, but if that doesn't work, you can always modify it to find out what does. "It might be awkward at first if you're not used to doing it, but you'll find your own way of approaching things," she said.

If you would like more information, click here. You'll find a list of warning signs to look out for that may indicate your child is struggling with their mental health. You can also download the starter pack here.  

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