There is no health without mental health. Mental health is the ability to think, feel and act in ways that help us to:
- Cope with life’s ups and downs
- Make good decisions
- Have meaningful relationships
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 and teens can:
- Identify and manage their feelings
- Make and keep friends
- Care for others
- Set goals
- Deal with daily stressors in a healthy way
- Model behaviours that you want to see in your child/teen.
- Ensure that your child/teen is getting enough sleep, proper nutrition and exercise.
- Teach optimistic thinking. Children and youth with a positive outlook have more confidence and self-esteem.
- 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.
- Give children and youth choices. It helps to build decision-making skills.
- Encourage problem solving and help children and youth think about alternate solutions.
- 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.
- Help your child/teen identify and develop strengths. Encourage them to try new things. Praise their efforts.
- 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.
- Monitor family stress levels and be aware of signs of over-scheduling.
Parent and caregiver resources
- Mental Health Literacy (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.
- 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.
- Halton Children’s Aid Society (external link)
Organization that provides community resources and support for children and families.
- Thrive Counselling (external link)
Provides counselling, support, workshops and seminars to children and families.
- Halton Healthcare Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (external link)
A community-based, multidisciplinary team dedicated to the assessment and short-term treatment of children and adolescents who are experiencing mental health concerns.
- Halton Psychologists – Child, Adolescent and Family Practice (external link)
Licensed psychologists provide a range of psychological services including assessment, treatment, consultations, workshops and in-services.
- Hope for Wellness Helpline (external link)
An organization that provides counselling to all indigenous people across Canada. Support is also available in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut.
- Kids Help Phone (external link)
A 24/7 e-mental health service that offers mental health tips and information, crisis support and professional counselling, and support services.
- Links 2 Care (external link)
Organization that supports youth ages 9-19 in a caring, non-judgmental, safe and friendly environment. Provides a variety of programs and services to parents and children.
- ROCK - Reach Out Centre For Kids (external link)
A child and youth mental health agency providing several programs and services to individuals and families, including walk-in clinics.
24-hour crisis help lines
- Family physician
- School counsellor
- Public health nurse-works in schools to enhance the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of the whole community
- Clergy/faith leader
- Family members