Emotional Well Being/Mental Health

Why child and youth mental health care matters

  • 1 in 5 children/teens experience mental health problems.
  • 70% of mental health problems and illness begin during early childhood and adolescence.
  • Fewer than 25% of these children receive treatment.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadian adolescents.
  • Mental health problems can seriously impair school success and relationship.
  • Early intervention can make a difference!

The truth about mental health

There is no health without mental health.

Mental health is the ability to think, feel and act in ways that help us:

  • Cope with life’s ups and downs.
  • Make good decisions.
  • Have meaningful relationships.

Mental health shows in how you think, feel and act in life. It affects how you see the world, handle challenges, relate to others and make choices.

Current research shows that 1 in 5 children will suffer from poor mental health. For most, these problems will be brief. Experiences with stress, sadness or low self-esteem are a part of growing up. However, when it begins to interfere with school, family or everyday living, it is time to ask for help.

Early intervention is key. Children and youth need to be taught coping skills and need to know they are not alone.

Emotionally healthy children/teens can:

  • Identify and manage their feelings.
  • Make and keep friends.
  • Care for others.
  • Set goals.
  • Deal with daily stressors in a healthy way.

10 tips for raising emotionally healthy children/teens:

  1. Model behaviours that you want to see in your child/teen.
  2. Ensure that your child/teen is getting enough sleep, proper nutrition and exercise.
  3. Teach optimistic thinking: Children and youth with a positive outlook have more confidence and self-esteem.
  4. Use positive discipline practices: Help children and youth learn and understand the impact of their behaviours, actions and choices. Set clear, reasonable limits. Tell and show what behaviour is expected (not just what kids shouldn’t do) and use fair consequences.
  5. Give children and youth choices: Helps build decision making skills.
  6. Encourage problem solving and help children and youth think about alternate solutions.
  7. Teach children how to be assertive: Show children and youth how to confidently and respectfully communicate their thoughts, feelings and needs to others in a way that is not hurtful.
  8. Help your child/teen identify and develop strengths: Encourage them to try new things. Praise their efforts.
  9. Help your child/teen identify and name their feelings: Learning to recognize and label their emotions is the first step in teaching ways to effectively express emotions.
  10. Monitor family stress levels and be aware of signs of over-scheduling.

Information resources:

  • Anxiety BC (external link)
    Resource to increase awareness about anxiety disorders; promote education of the general public, affected persons, and health care providers; and increase access to evidence-based resources and treatments.
  • Children’s Mental Health Ontario (external link)
    Organization which provides resources and information on a variety of mental health issues that affect children. Teacher and Parent resources available.
  • Hincks Dellcrest Centre (external link)
    Ideas for promoting the mental health of children and adolescents, information about how children change as they get older, descriptions of behaviours that might indicate a problem, and practical suggestions for steps to take.
  • Mental Health Liaison Program
    Nurses who provide support to students at Halton elementary schools. They provide early identification for youth who present with mental health issues and/or psychiatric symptoms.
  • New Mentality Halton (external link)
    Youth led initiative which focuses on youth engagement and advocacy around mental health. Offers presentations around increasing awareness and decreasing stigma around the issue of mental health.
  • Parent’s for Children’s mental health (external link)
    An organization that works with families, the general public, mental health professionals and agencies to provide education, support and advocacy
  • The Psychology Foundation of Canada (external link)
    Organization that provides various on-line resources and publications on emotional well-being. Offers speaker presentations and lunch and learns that support work place mental health.

Parent and care giver resources:

  • Teen Mental Health (external link)
    Provides evidence based teen mental health tools and resources for parents, teens, educators and health professionals, to enhance the understanding of adolescent mental health and mental disorders.

Youth resources:

  • Mind Your Mind (external link)
    Interactive website created by youth for youth. Designed to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and increase access and use of community support, both professional and peer-based.
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  • Kids Help Phone (external link)
    Provides anonymous and confidential professional counselling, referrals, and information through technologically-based communications media to improve the well-being of Canadian children and youth. The organization also provides public education, posters, brochures, and wallet-cards.
  • Yoomagazine (external link)
    An interactive health magazine for young people, parents and professionals. The resource focuses on teaching mental health literacy, facilitating early detection of health and mental health difficulties and promoting help-seeking in young people
  • Youth Services Card (PDF file)
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24 hour crisis help lines

General help

  • Family physician
  • Friends
  • School counsellor
  • School nurse
  • Clergy/ faith leader
  • Family members
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