From picking out supplies to spending time with friends, going back to school can be a lot of fun. But it can also be a time of stress and uncertainty. Make some time to check in with the young people in your life about how they’re feeling—it can make all the difference. Here are a few tips to help you out.
- Be open and non-judgemental.
Let them know you’re here to listen, and don’t jump to any conclusions. Stay calm and grounded while you’re listening.
- Take them seriously.
If a young person shares a concern with you, don’t dismiss it. Something that seems simple to you might be a big issue for them.
- Be supportive.
Talking about problems can be difficult—thank them for making the effort to talk to you. Ask how you can help, or offer to talk things through together.
Keep the Conversation Going
You can play a part in helping them learn more about mental health and how to talk about their worries. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Mental health is for everyone. Just like everyone has physical health, everyone has mental health. It’s related to many other factors, like stress, sleep and environment. It’s normal for mental health to change over time—don’t ignore problems when they come up.
It’s good to reach out if you’re having trouble. If you feel overwhelmed or like you can’t cope, telling someone else about it can make a big difference. Once people know what’s going on, they can help—but if you don’t tell anyone what you’re feeling, it may just get worse.
Everyone deserves respect. Young people may be reluctant to speak up because they worry about being judged. Talking about mental health openly and with kindness helps them see that it is okay to do so and encourages them to be open about their own concerns.
There are lots of great resources to support young people’s mental health, including information for parents and caregivers and supports for children and youth. Learn more about how families can support youth.
Reaching out for help
If you decide you'd like to look into accessing supports, there are lots of choices available to you. You do not need to be experiencing a crisis to seek support. Here are some places to start if you decide to reach out for help:
- If you have a family doctor, you can contact them for information about services in your community. They can assist you by making a referral to additional professionals and support your family between appointments or if you are on a waitlist.
- A school counsellor can also be a great person to reach out to. They can give advice about what the young person in your life is experiencing and help navigate other services to support them.
- Attend an intake at a Child and Youth Mental Health Clinic. You will both will be asked questions about what they are experiencing and their health history. All Child and Youth Mental Health services are free of charge. Learn more about the intake process.
- In addition to intake through Child and Youth Mental Health Centres, Indigenous families can access services through Indigenous Child and Youth Mental Health.
- Reach out to a Foundry youth clinic or access online services at Foundry Virtual. Foundry provides many services for young people, including counselling and peer support.
Navigating the world of mental health can be challenging. Remind yourself that you are doing your best and allow yourself to ask for help when you need it!