Get the Conversation Started; from the SC Dept. of Mental Health

About the Program:

"Get the Conversation Started" is designed to reach families, caregivers, and others that work with youth, as well as youth, 9 to 17yrs of age.  This campaign was developed to assist parents and those who assist in shaping the future of youth to broach these issues in a positive and open manner.

This is a state-wide campaign that is promoting awareness through education about information on how to get the conversation started about healthy and successful living.  Youth may be dealing with depression, suicide, an eating disorder, bullies, peer pressure or other difficult problems.

Youth with mental, emotional, substance abuse and/or a behavior problem are likely to be experiencing a major source of stress.  The stress has major effects on both the youth and the family. These problems are real and very serious.  Being aware of the signs for these problems as well as being able to discuss them is an important goal.

It is important to get the conversation started with youth, as well as, teachers, doctors, counselors, and anyone who can have a direct affect in a young person's life about keeping these issues in perspective.


In South Carolina, over 41,000 or 6% of our youth 9 to 17 years of age, are estimated to have extreme functional impairment due to some form of mental disorder* (SC Kids Count based on a federal formula for prevalence taking poverty into account.)  1

Six out of every 100 children may suffer with depression. 1

In South Carolina almost 20 % of youth in High School reported that they had drunk 5 or more drinks in a day within the past month* ( SC Kids Count based on a 2001-02 survey by DAODAS - South Carolina Survey.) 1

Since, 2002, underage drinkers in South Carolina have accounted for almost 12% of the alcohol-related wrecks that resulted in death.  1

-US Department of Health and Human Services,  SC Department of Public Safety


How would you get the Conversation started with your child?

  • Make Time. Set aside time from your busy schedules to talk. Doesn't mean it has to be formal...find informal opportunities --like while driving or at dinner time.
  • Listen. Kids will talk if they know you are listening-give it a try.
  • Pay Attention. It is not easy for kids to talk to parents about important things that matter to them; so pay attention when they do try and talk. Tune into their feelings.
  • Be Thoughtful and clear. Let them know you care and keep your responses simple. They don't need a story about how it used to be in your day.
  • Ask their Opinion. You don't have to lecture to them all the time. Kids are people and their opinions should matter.
  • Don't Interrupt. When your child begins the conversation, do not interrupt and respect his/her opinion.

Need more help: Call our toll free number and start finding resources you need for the youth in your life. 1-866-886-5848.