“I grew up in a family where mental health was treated as a hoax. When people would refer to anxiety or depression as illnesses, my family would immediately reject their perspective, and even worse, reject that person completely. As a result, I internalized that message and spent years of my life believing that there was something wrong with me for feeling the way I did. I’d pretend that it wasn’t real or that it was my fault and I simply needed to get better at controlling it. But, that really meant suppressing my emotions.” — Derek Jackson, Cyber Dive CTO
Maybe you experienced this growing up.
Or, even worse, this is your attitude towards mental illness.
This isn’t up for debate. Mental illness is a fact.
If you’re skeptical, this section is for you. Let’s talk about some real mental health statistics.
- 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years were diagnosed with a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder from 2016–2019 (that's 17.4% of kids under 9 years old).
Yes, you read that right. This is CHILDHOOD mental illness. If you know at least six kids who are 2–8 years old (which we all do), one is likely struggling with their mental health. Let's pause for a moment to wrap our heads around that.
The stats for mental illness in teens are just as staggering.
- 15.1% had a major depressive episode.
- 18.8% seriously considered attempting suicide.
- 15.7% made a suicide plan.
Yep. Almost 1 in 6 teenagers struggle with depression and have strong suicidal feelings. The majority of those even thought specifically about how to carry it out.
So, if you think mental illness is a hoax, you’re just not listening.
It’s time to change because your kid NEEDS you.
Even if you know mental health is a real problem, there’s still room for some necessary change.
“Why?” you ask.
Talking about mental health with your kid isn’t something you can delay, no matter how young they are. Don’t wait until you see warning signs to start a conversation! Start taking steps early.
So, now you're wondering:
"How do I get involved with my kid’s mental health?"
We know, just thinking about it can feel like a daunting task. And it’s time to ditch surface-level tips. Diet, exercise, and meditation are ABSOLUTELY proven coping tools for mental illness but stopping there misses everything lurking under the surface.
The way we see it, there are two instrumental pieces to this puzzle and neither can thrive without the other.
First, make talking about mental health a part of your family dynamic.
- Recognize that, as a society, we haven’t moved past the stigma about mental illness. Maybe it doesn’t exist in your home but your kid will encounter someone that treats them differently because of their mental health. Be committed to breaking the mental health stigma by talking openly about it inside your home. If you've established your family as a safe place to talk about difficult feelings, you help reduce the power of any judgment your kid might face outside of your home.
- Swap restrictions for a plan you’ve tailored to your kid. Technology isn’t like sugar — okay as long as the dose is small. This is because even small doses of sexualization, cyberbullying1, or “thinspo” can have extremely negative effects. But, taking your kid's smartphone away won’t help either. Kids who are opted out have a higher chance of becoming isolated from their friend group and developing feelings of loneliness or depression. When it comes down to it, your kid needs YOU to be there for them with thoughtful support, not a timer to arbitrarily kick them off their phones.
- Lead by example. Occasionally sprinkling some positive affirmations into a conversation about mental health or demonizing social media solves nothing. Our kids are like sponges, right? They watch us and do what we do, soaking in our actions more than our words. Being vulnerable about your own emotions and regularly talking about mental health makes these tough conversations a key part of your family dynamic.
Second, be proactive with Aqua One’s Mental Health Check.
Patent pending. One of a kind. Backed by child psychology.
All those things about our Mental Health Check are true but, let’s be honest, that’s probably not what you really want to hear about. You want to know…
How will the Mental Health Check help MY family?
Simply put, you’re now in the driver’s seat. No more facing the dreaded “I’m fine” response because the Mental Health Check empowers you to proactively check on your kid's mental wellbeing as they use their Aqua One smartphone.
How does the Mental Health Check work?
1) Interrupts their scroll
Three times a day, your kid will receive thought-provoking questions we created alongside clinical psychologists. There’s no workaround; your kid must answer them to keep using their phone!
2) Asks profound questions
The Mental Health Check is customized with relatable scenarios based on your kid’s age. These questions are carefully designed to go far beyond the surface, which means every answer is relevant and insightful.
3) Reveals snapshots of your kid’s mood in real-time
As soon as your kid responds to their Mental Health Check, their answers drop into your Parent Dashboard. No more guessing! You can see exactly how your kid is feeling, whether thriving or struggling.
4) Provides child-psychologist-backed tips
The Mental Health Check gives you more than just your kid’s answers. If you’ve ever felt unsure how to help your kid when they’re struggling (we sure have!), this tool equips you with critical insights to support them right where they are!
Simply put, it’s one of the most powerful tools to unlock your kid’s emotional health.
Rather than worrying if they have poor mental health, you’ll know.
Rather than feeling in the dark, you’ll have peace of mind.
Now, conversations about mental health are never going to be easy.
We’re not going to sugarcoat it and say it differently. But, your kid doesn't have to suffer in silence. Their mental health doesn’t have to be a mystery. Not anymore.
When you make mental health conversations part of your regular family dynamic and utilize the Mental Health Check to be proactive about your kid’s emotional wellbeing, you prepare them with support and tools if they are that one kid out of six that struggles with a mental illness. Or you teach them to be the kind of human that continues to break the stigma. Either way, you and your family become part of the change every kid needs.
Ready to Dive In?