Celebrating National Child & Youth Mental Health Day (May 7, 2020)

KIDTHINK is excited to celebrate the proclamation of National Child & Youth Mental Health Day on May 7, 2020 by sharing resources and encouraging the community to wear a green headband to bring awareness to the importance of child and youth mental wellness. Our ‘Band Together’ posters are being distributed to educate the community about the importance of child and youth mental health and to invite daycares, schools and families to participate in many of the fun activities available during Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week (May 4-8, 2020).

Why does mental health awareness matter? Mental health awareness is a key aspect to reducing stigma and preventing further illness and disability. We know that preschoolers who have mental health difficulties are at risk of developing further mental health issues without treatment and supports (Wlodarczyk et al., 2017). We also know that many of the mental illnesses begin in childhood or adolescence and therefore, early intervention and prevention are essential in promoting the long-term mental wellness of our youth.

What is mental health? Fuller-Thomson & Ryckman (2020) describe “complete mental health” as having psychological well-being, a presence of happiness, overall life satisfaction and social well-being which develops through participation in physical fitness, relationship-building, development of independence in activities of daily living, having quality sleep and nurturing social supports. Mental health also includes having the tools to cope with stress, regulate emotions and participate to one’s full ability in personal goals and aspirations.

KIDTHINK recognizes the value in providing the community with easy ways in which to incorporate these activities and more to maximize the mental health of children and families.

What information is available to support mental health? We will kick off the week by posting mental wellness activities for children, on our website. These activities were created in collaboration with the Winnipeg School Division, Seven Oaks School Division, Canadian Mental Health Association, Project 11, and Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine (DSFM). We encourage caregivers to check in daily for healthy and fun activities to share with their children and youth at home or in childcare environments.

KIDTHINK will also be providing various webinars throughout the week to middle school students in the Winnipeg School Division as well as to the public through our website. Please visit www.kidthink.ca/events to register for the upcoming webinars: “What is Mindfulness Anyway?” (May 5 & 8) which is geared towards middle school students; “Parenting for Our Children’s Mental Health” (May 6) to support parents and caregivers in learning strategies to promote mental wellness in children; or check out our free on-demand webinar “Mindfulness for Children and Caregivers” which provides the background evidence on the value of mindfulness and leads participants through a few different mindfulness exercises.

We want to take the opportunity to thank all of our partners in banding together to support such an important and worthwhile cause. We look forward to staying connected.

Stay tuned and be well!

Tamara Rogers, MSc., BMR (OT), OT Reg. (MB)

Outreach Clinician, KIDTHINK

MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

  • 1 in 7 children suffers from mental illness in Manitoba (Cartier et al., 2016).
  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset in childhood or adolescence (Government of Canada, 2006).

There Is Hope

The good news is that mental illness can be treated effectively. There are things that can be done to prevent mental illness and its impact and help improve the lives of children experiencing mental health concerns. Early intervention is best.

How KIDTHINK Can Help To make a referral contact us For additional resources To subscribe to our newsletter click help

References:

Chartier M, Brownell M, MacWilliam L, Valdivia J, Nie Y, et al. (2016). The mental health of Manitoba’s children. Winnipeg, MB. Manitoba Centre for Health Policy.

Fuller-Thomson, E. and Ryckman, K. (2020). Achieving complete mental health despite a history of generalized anxiety disorders: Findings from a large, nationally representative Canadian survey. Journal of Affective Disorders, 265:687-694.

Government of Canada. (2006). The human face of mental health and mental illness in Canada. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Practice/human_face_e.pdf

Wlodarczyk, O., Pawils, S., Metzner, F. et. al. Risk and protective factors for mental problems in preschool-aged children: cross-sectional results of the BELLA preschool study. (2017). Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health, 11,12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-017-0149-4