1 in 5 children has a mental health difficulty

May 3rd to 9th is Children’s Mental Health Week. As an accredited children’s mental health agency, Peel Children’s Centre wants you to know that high quality services are available in our community for children, youth and their families who are experiencing mental health difficulties.

 

WHAT IS A MENTAL HEALTH DIFFICULTY?


Mental health difficulties are struggles with feelings, relationships, or behaviour that seriously affect daily functioning at home, at school, or in the community.


1 in 5 kids – that’s 60,000 young people in Peel – have a diagnosable mental health difficulty. The most common mental health difficulties in children and teenagers are behaviour disorders (e.g. defiance, bullying), anxiety disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, depression, and eating disorders.


SIGNS OF A MENTAL HEALTH DIFFICULTY


Many children and youth exhibit these characteristics and behaviours from time to time during normal development:

  • getting significantly lower marks in school
  • avoiding friends and family
  • having frequent outbursts of anger
  • losing her/his appetite
  • having difficulty sleeping
  • rebelling against authority
  • drinking and/or using drugs
  • not doing things he/she used to enjoy
  • damaging property
  • worrying constantly
  • experiencing frequent mood swings
  • not concerned with her/his appearance
  • obsessed with her/his weight
  • lacking energy or motivation
  • hitting or bullying other children
  • attempting to injure himself/herself.

 

However, if these characteristics or behaviours are intense, long-lasting, inappropriate for the child’s age, or interfering with the child's life, they may be signs of a mental health difficulty.

 

If your child has mental health difficulties, it is very important to get help. Left untreated, kids in distress can turn to drugs and alcohol, become suicidal, drop out of school, become violent, or withdraw into silence and isolation. The good news is that treatment works, leading to better outcomes and happier lives.


HOW DO I GET HELP?


Mental Health Services for Children and Youth (Centralized Intake) is one number to call for children and youth who live in Brampton, Caledon or Mississauga. Parents, service providers, and youth over age 12 can call 905-451-4655.

 

When you call, an intake worker will schedule a brief telephone interview to figure out which service is best suited to the child’s or youth’s needs. You will be referred to one of these agencies: Associated Youth Services of Peel; Nexus Youth Services; Peel Children’s Centre; or Trillium Health Centre – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

 

If a child/youth under age 18 is having a mental health crisis, Peel Children’s Centre operates a Crisis Response Service 24 hours a day. Parents, children or youth can call 416-410-8615 to get help right away.

 

There is no charge for the children’s mental health services we provide. While there are wait lists for many programs, we help while you are waiting with short-term counselling, group programs, and services at Ontario Early Years Centres.

 

Any child, regardless of age or circumstance, can develop a mental health difficulty. Should this happen, please call us. Mental health treatment gives kids and families hope for a bright future.

 


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