As we move through these summer months we want to ensure that families have information at their fingertips about how to support the mental health and wellbeing of their children/teens.  We have created a new Mentally Healthy Return-to-school page https://www.wcdsb.ca/return-to-school/ which features resources that might be helpful to promote wellbeing for the entire family in the coming months. You will find:

  • Tipsheets for teens on recognizing if they need help, how to ask for help with they need it, how to help a friend, etc.
  • Self-care 101
  • Summer wellbeing activity ideas
  • Info about getting sleeping patterns back on track
  • Tip sheets on noticing if your child/teen is struggling
  • A sample Coping Plan and suicide prevention tips (Prepare/Prevention/Respond)

Umbrella Project: Reframing Challenges as a Vehicle to Developing Coping Skills 

Presented by: Dr. Jen Forristal

  • In this presentation, we will learn how to support our children through challenges and allow these inevitable difficulties to become powerful well-being tools instead of missed opportunities.

Parent/Caregiver Podcast: Finding our Way Back: Understanding and Responding to Post-Pandemic “Back-to-School” Worries:

Presented by: Antonietta Leonardo, Mary Goerzen-Sheard, Caylie Bogdan, Marlene Maddocks, Sharon Porty.

  • How can we start now to proactively build coping skills that will help our kids feel more equipped and confident for the return to school to the school building?
  • What if my child/teen is resistant to going?
  • Where can we access help if we need it?

We also recognize that the pandemic has been hard for many parents/caregivers as well, and have created a selection of new videos focused on your own wellbeing that you may find helpful to watch:

Umbrella Project: Self-Care Practices for Parents

Presented by: Dr. Jen Forristal

We need to take care of ourselves as well!  In this workshop we will learn about the Umbrella Project themes and how they relate to resiliency in difficult times, mindset, daily wellbeing practices, and opportunities for growth.

Parent Wellbeing Series: 

A series of four 10-20 minute videos focusing on parent/caregiver wellbeing:

  1. Self-Compassion
  2. Recognizing Signs of Internal Struggle
  3. Radical Self-Care
  4. Daily Anchors and Guided Meditation

You may wish to ask your child/teen if they know about the services available through KidsHelpPhone (a free, 24 hour anonymous counselling and support to children/teens who are struggling with a wide range of issues (i.e. mental health, break-up’s, friendship problems, bullying, etc.) https://kidshelpphone.ca/

Phone: 1(800) 668-6868
Text CONNECT to 686868
Messenger, and live webchat

Let them know it’s okay to ask for help if they are struggling, and check out the Kids Help Phone webpage together to see what kinds of resources and information they have.  Teens may also want to check out the Jack.org Covid-19 Youth resource hub: https://jack.org/covid.

If you require additional supports our local child and adolescent mental health services are here to support you. Please contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on the services available:

Front Door: Access to Child and Youth Mental Health Services:

Access point for Waterloo Region mental health services for children and youth

https://www.frontdoormentalhealth.com/  (519)749-2932

Here 24/7: 24 hour Crisis service, and access point for Mental Health and Addictions services in Waterloo Region (16+): 1-844-437-3247 http://here247.ca/

If this is a medical emergency please contact 911 or visit your local emergency department.

Websites & Apps:

On WCDSB’s main Mental Health and Wellbeing Page  you can also find general information about:

  • mental health 101
  • links to age-appropriate videos that can teach your family self-care strategies such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, mindfulness, etc.
  • recognizing signs that your child/teen is struggling
  • tips for having conversations with your child about mental health
  • where to go for help, including a wide range of local supports

https://mindyourmind.ca/ (info & tools to help manage stress, crisis and mental health concerns)

https://anxietycanada.com/ (info & tools to help manage anxiety)

https://bouncebackontario.ca/ free online/phone skill-building program to manage mild-moderate symptoms of anxiety/depression.  Age 15+

Apps:   Insight Timer, Abide, Woebot, Mind Shift, Calm, BeSafe, Always There

Please note there are mental health supports available to all Canadians during covid at Wellness Together Canada https://ca.portal.gs/, as well as https://info.mindbeacon.com/btn542 for residents of Ontario.

All the best in the summer, we hope you and your family find times of rest, rejuvenation, and fun together!