Blog Playful Childhoods blog Youth mental health and play Playing, hanging out, relaxing and socialising are important parts of teenagers’ lives and contribute significantly to their mental health. Meeting up and hanging out with friends in their local area gives teenagers a chance to have fun, experience independence and develop social skills. It’s a chance to de-stress and unwind from pressures such as schoolwork. However, we know that children and teenagers are experiencing fewer and fewer opportunities to play and hang out. A report published by Play Wales, What children say about play in Wales: 2022, found that fewer children and teenagers experience enough time, space and permission to play out than three years before. Parental fears about safety and negative adult attitudes were among the reasons for this decline. As adults, there are lots of ways we can support and encourage teenagers to play, hang out and have fun so that they can enjoy the mental health and social benefits that this provides. How we can support teenagers’ play Our website includes lots of resources to help parents and carers support teenagers to play, hang out, relax and have fun. These resources include: Hanging out – information about how teenagers play, hang out and socialise. Spaces to hang out – guidance on understanding where teenagers like to hang out, and why. Sticking up for teenagers – support and ideas for adults to show that they are on teenagers’ side. Helping teenagers stick up for themselves – guidance on helping teenagers build confidence and skills to stick up for themselves. Get involved Youth Mental Health Day takes place each year on 19 September. It’s an opportunity to learn and raise awareness about teenage mental health issues, and to show our support for young people. Join in the conversation on this Youth Mental Health Day using the social media hashtag #YMHD.