Children’s Mental Health Week is an annual campaign to raise public awareness of the signs of mental health difficulties, the importance of early treatment, and the effective services that are available for children, youth and their families.
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 66,000 children and teenagers in Peel Region — have a diagnosable mental health difficulty. The most common mental health difficulties in young people 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. 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. These services are free of charge for children and youth living in Peel Region.
PCC 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.
New this year, Tangerine Walk-In Counselling is a service provided, in partnership, by Associated Youth Services of Peel, Peel Children’s Centre, and Rapport Youth & Family Services. Call 905-795-3530 or visit www.tangerinewalkin.com.
Walk-in days, locations and hours are:
Any child or youth, regardless of age or circumstance, can develop a mental health difficulty. Should this happen, please contact us. Mental health treatment gives kids and families hope for a bright future.
FIGHT STIGMA —CHANGE THE VIEW!
Despite the fact that 1 in 5 children and youth will have a mental health difficulty, stigma is the number one barrier to accessing and using children’s mental health services.
All of us — families, friends, healthcare professionals, schools, community services, businesses, politicians, media, volunteers, funders and donors — have a role to play in fighting stigma.
In this section, we profile some initiatives in our district school boards. Many thanks to all our community partners for their efforts to “change the view” on mental health.