Mental Health Treatment Centre Providing a Range of Services to Help Children and Families Cope with Anxiety and Other Challenges as Children Return to School this Fall

WINNIPEG, Canada - KIDTHINK, an innovative and forward-thinking children's mental health treatment centre and outreach program, is proud to announce that they will be providing a number of services aimed at helping parents and children navigate returning to school during the global pandemic.   


KIDTHINK staff will be providing two webinars aimed at providing parents and caregivers strategies for helping children navigate anxiety and other challenges in returning to school.

  • “Managing Back-to-School Anxiety During COVID-19” presented by Kari Deschambault, MSW, RSW on August 26, 2020, 7:00-8:30pm
    • As families prepare for the transition back to school this year, anxiety may be heightened in both parents and children as a result of COVID-19.  This webinar will focus on strategies to help children and caregivers manage anxiety and have a successful start to the school year.
  • “Ask the Experts: A Question and Answer Event” presented by Dr. Kerri Tomy and Dr. Jo Ann Unger, C. Psych. on September 16, 2020, 7:00 - 8:30pm
    • Here is an opportunity to ask two of our professional team members your questions about children’s mental health.  After the first few weeks of managing back-to-school challenges during a global pandemic, you may have a few questions and KIDTHINK’s Psychologist and Consulting Psychiatrist are here to help you find answers.  You can bring your questions to the webinar or submit them ahead of time by emailing  Due to time constraints, not all questions may be answered.  

The FRIENDS Resilience Program:

This program is endorsed by the World Health Organisation as a best practice for the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression, while at the same promoting resilience. 

FRIENDS is an acronym which children can use to remember a series of different strategies that they can implement to manage their anxiety effectively. The acronym is explained as follows: 

Feelings (empathy training and self-regulation);

Remember to relax (relaxation & mindfulness strategies);

I can try my best (changing unhelpful to helpful thinking);

Explore coping step plans and strategies for finding helpful solutions (choosing thumbs up actions instead of thumbs down actions);

Now reward yourself for trying your best (choosing interpersonal rather than material rewards);

Don't forget to practice (choose to use the FRIENDS skills and give back to the community); and

Stay calm (values-based role models and support networks).

Young children face an ever-increasing volume of stress factors, which is why they must be given support and strategies to help them improve their resilience. KIDTHINK and the FRIENDS resilience program have worked together to provide many families living in Manitoba with free online access to the specific FRIENDS resilience program called "Starting Building Community Resilience." 

The FRIENDS resilience programs consist of a suite of developmentally sensitive, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) based programs. The programs aim to build lifelong resilience in children, families, adults, schools, and communities. Dr. Paula Barnett, the creator of the FRIENDS program, and her team, decided to develop a video workshop, using FRIENDS methodology to help families deal with issues that have arisen as a result of the global pandemic. The main benefit of the video workshop is that it can be viewed and implemented from the comfort of the family's own home. It includes just over two hours of material and electronic workbooks, which can be personalized. More information about the FRIENDS resilience programs can be found on the website at

Although the program's video aspect was primarily designed for an adult audience, the accompanying free electronic workbooks are targeted at three separate age groups - adults (and adolescents), children, and young children. Anyone interested in utilizing the benefits of this program should contact KIDTHINK via email ( The only information required from anyone applying for the link is a name and email address. Those who apply for access to the videos will receive a link along with the process for resetting the password. We still have a number of free registrations available thanks to the support of the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

In addition to the video program, KIDTHINK is pleased to announce that they are planning to offer the full FRIENDS resilience program targeted at children aged between 8 to 11 years old. Friends for Life and the Adult Resilience program for caregivers will happen at the end of August. The children and caregiver groups will run simultaneously at the KIDTHINK clinic at 407 Graham Avenue (2nd Floor). These intensive groups aim to help children and families prepare for the transition back to school. Learning additional tools for coping with challenging situations such as self-regulation strategies, self-soothing skills, and problem-solving skills will help families manage this transition more easily. The dates of this one-week intensive program is August 24 – August 28, from 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm. Due to physical distancing requirements, space is limited, so families are advised to register as soon as possible. This can be done by emailing KIDTHINK at KIDTHINK is delighted to be able to offer these groups at no cost, due to the generous support of donors. 

Child, Parent and Family Therapy:

The KIDTHINK Clinical and Outreach teams continue to offer video-based and in-person therapy services, with safety protocols, to families with children 12 years of age and under.  This includes mental health prevention, consultation and treatment for children, their parents and their whole families.  For more information about KIDTHINK and the services they provide, visit their website at


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