Children's Mental Health Week 2011

Children’s Mental Health Week (May 1 to 8, 2011) is an annual campaign to raise public awareness of the signs of mental health difficulties, the importance of early treatment, and the services that are available to help children, youth and their families who are experiencing difficulties with feelings, behaviour or relationships.

 

WHAT IS A MENTAL HEALTH DIFFICULTY?

 

Mental health difficulties are struggles with feelings, behaviour or relationships 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 important to get help as soon as possible. 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 mental health services for children and youth who live in Brampton, Caledon or Mississauga. If you are a parent, service provider, or youth over age 12, you can call 905-451-4655 for help.

 

When you call, an intake worker will schedule a brief telephone interview to figure out which service is best suited to your needs. You may be referred to one of these children’s mental health agencies: Associated Youth Services of Peel; Nexus Youth Services; Peel Children’s Centre; or Trillium Health Centre – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. If another community service could better meet your needs, the intake worker will connect you with the appropriate agency.

 

Peel Children’s Centre also operates a Crisis Response Service. If you are a child/youth under age 18, or the child’s parent or caregiver, you can call 416-410-8615 to get help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

 

There are no charges for our children’s mental health services. While there are wait lists for some programs, Peel Children’s Centre will help while you are waiting with short-term counselling, group programs, our Crisis Response Service, 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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