May "Mental Health Minute"
What is Mental Illness?
People have mental health concerns or mental illness when challenging thoughts, feelings or behaviours get in the way of functioning at home, school or work.
Everyone feels sad or upset from time to time. But when these feelings are so strong that it’s hard to carry on at school, or home, then there may be a mental health concern.
From a child or teen’s point of view, mental health concerns could mean some or all of the following:
- I feel that others don’t care about me
- I feel sad, irritable, worried or angry a lot
- I don’t like myself
- I don’t feel good about the future
- I feel powerless, and not in control of my life
What to watch for:
- Talk about suicide or feeling hopeless
- Mood problems like irritability, anger, rage or extreme sadness
- Poor grades or missing school
- Marked Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Many physical complaints (such as headaches or stomach aches) that doctors can’t find a cause for
- Withdrawal from regular relationships and activities
- Any behaviours or symptoms that prevent a child or teen from doing everyday activities
April "Mental Health Minute"
Teach children how to reach out to others when they need help and support.
Always take children’s concerns and worries seriously. Children and youth may believe that their feelings don’t matter if we dismiss their feelings.
Spend positive time with them, to build a good, trusting relationship.
Help them face stress, and cope with it in a positive way.
Have appropriate expectations, limits and consequences for behaviour.
If you found these tips helpful, you might like “Tips for Parents on Building Healthy Relationships with their Teenager” from CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
March "Mental Health Minute"
Be positive role models. Children need to see us express our feelings, talk over a problem with our partner, or see things from someone else’s point of view.
Promote a healthy lifestyle. Give healthy food, make sure they get enough sleep and exercise.
Ask them how their day went. Let them know when they’ve done something well (like trying hard, being patient or kind, or getting better at something). Focus on the effort, not always the result. If something is bothering or stressing them, ask if they need help to solve the problem.
Ask them how they’re feeling about things. Some children may not know how to express themselves. Help them with language to ‘name’ and express feelings (“Oh,that must have been frustrating to have to wait so long…”)
Help them see things from another’s point of view. Children need to see us do this (“My boss was in a really bad mood today, but she’s been going through a rough time caring for her mother”)
Mental Health Minute for February
Children and youth can experience mental health problems that range from mild to serious. For instance, some students may have a little anxiety when they are facing a test, while others may be very anxious about the same test. when a problem lasts for more than a few weeks, and interferes with the student's dail life, then it becomes a concern that requires further help. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems for children and youth.
Parent Fact Sheet on child and youth mental health and mental illness from CHEO.
See this series of clips on Canada AM in February 2012 for Bell "Lets Talk" day in regards to Mental Health. The series shares information through different peoples’ stories, as well discusses the importance of early intervention and training . Particularly relevant is the clip on "Spotting signs and symptoms" where school based mental health is discussed.
Overview of the Government of Ontario's mental health and additions strategy and more details regarding the specific supports for school board.
Did you know?1 in 5 children and youth suffer from a diagnosable mental illness
How will this affect them?Up to 50% of children experience mental health issues that have a significant impact on academic, social, and family life
Why is TLDSB making children's mental health a priority?The World Health Organization suggests that schools are the best place to promote mental health for children.
"Scanning the Practice Landscape in School-based Mental Health", a 2009 Ontario study, found that:
- A majority of educators are either “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about student mental health
- A majority of educators consider that student emotional well-being is either “very important” or “extremely important” for academic achievement
- A majority of educators feel that their preparedness to identify and manage student mental health needs ranges from “somewhat prepared” to “not prepared"