Families Supporting Youth
Conversations with young people about mental health may feel challenging. Here are some places to start.
Roughly 70% of serious mental health challenges start before the age of 24. Sometimes, youth may feel reluctant to share what they are going through, due to stigma or not knowing how or where to get help. Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic may be adding even more stress than usual. There are resources to support youth, parents, and caregivers to know where to start.
Starting a conversation
Speaking to young people about mental health can feel uncomfortable – you may feel that you don’t have all the answers, or don’t know how to begin. Kelty Mental Health has helpful tips on how to start conversations if you are concerned about a young person in your life
- Try to talk about mental health and wellbeing often in your family, these are important topics for everyone to be aware of. Speaking openly and regularly about mental health can help young people to feel like it’s ok to discuss.
- Speak with them while doing an activity, such as taking a drive or playing a game they enjoy. This can help young people feel less pressure.
- Treat them like an adult. Listen and ask what they think would help and how you could best support. This can help show that you want to work together and are taking what they say seriously.
Find more suggestions on how to talk to young people in your life.
Reaching out for help
Together, you may decide to speak to a professional to find help or information. There are many reasons to speak to a professional – to learn more about what you are experiencing, to get a new perspective, or even just to have another person on your team. 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 (if available in your community) or access online services at Foundry Virtual. Foundry provides many services for young people, including counselling and peer support.
- Adults can also benefit from support while helping a family member. This will help you to discuss your own concerns and develop more skills to support your loved one. Support for family members is available through organizations like: Kelty Mental Health, FamilySmart, Family Support Institute of BC and Foundry Parent Supports.
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
Showing 2 Resources
Child and Youth Mental Health Clinics
Free mental health clinics for children and youth in locations across B.C.
Provides access to virtual services through an app and web portal for youth and their caregivers in BC. Services are free and confidential; no referral or assessment is needed.<br /><br />Use the app to drop-in or schedule a virtual counselling appointment, join a youth group or caregiver group, find peer support, or browse a library of tools and resources.