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Childrens Mental Health

Mental health affects the way people think, feel and act. At every stage of life, mental health is important – from infancy, childhood, adolescence to adulthood. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. As a parent, you play an important role in supporting your child’s mental health.

  • Through the environment you create at home, and by your words and actions with your child.
  • By helping your child to build their resiliency skills – helping them to recover or bounce back from difficulties or change, and to cope and function as well as before, learn and grow from the experience, and be better prepared to face future challenges.
  • By learning about the early signs of mental health challenges and know where to go for help.

About 1 in 5 children and youth in Ontario has a mental health challenge. Most mental health challenges begin during childhood or youth. The good news is that mental health challenges are treatable, and there are many different approaches that can help children and youth who are struggling with emotional or mental health problems. That’s why early identification and help are so important and can lead to improved school success and improved health.

  • Helping your child build strong, caring relationships: spend time together and show and help your child to solve problems. Support your child in building strong relationships with key caregivers who they can depend on when they need help.
  • Helping your child develop self-esteem: Show your child lots of love. Ask questions about their interests. Recognize your child’s efforts and offer praise for their efforts and successes; these actions help your child to feel good about themselves.
  • Listening to your child and respecting their feelings. Make your home a safe place for the expression of all emotions and encourage your child to talk about how they feel. Take time to talk with your child, ask questions and listen; check in with your child each day, maybe at mealtime, while driving in the car, or before bedtime.
  • Creating a safe, positive home environment: Make time for physical activity, play, outdoor time, and family activities. Monitor and limit your child’s screen time use. Be aware and try to limit discussing serious family issues around your children. Role model taking care of your own mental health, talking about your feelings, and taking time for activities you enjoy.
  • Helping your child solve problems and deal with stressful events: Teach your child strategies to help calm and relax when they feel upset, like deep breathing, listening to music, or going for a walk. Talk about what we can and can’t control, options or ideas to improve a situation when possible, and how to plan to make it happen. Help your child find someone to talk to if they don’t feel comfortable talking to you.


Canadian Mental Health Association: Ontario - Child and Youth Mental Health

SMDHU – Talk With Your Kids – Cannabis, Alcohol, Opioids


Help and Support:

211 Community Connection

Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions – Child & Youth Mental Health English / Francais

Mental Health Crisis Line For Children and Youth English / Francais

Government of Ontario - Mental Health Services for Children and Youth English / Francais

Connex Ontario – Addiction, Mental Health, and Problem Gambling Treatment Services English / Francais

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