Youth Mental Health
of Canadians (1 in 5) will develop a mental illness by age 251
of children who have been diagnosed with a mental illness do not receive treatment1
Canadian children and youth are affected by mental illness1
of mental health problems start during childhood or adolescence1
As early experiences shape the architecture of the developing brain, they also lay the foundations for sound mental health. Disruptions to this developmental process can impair a child’s capacities for learning and relating to others — with lifelong implications2
Without early diagnosis and treatment, children with mental disorders can have problems at home, in school, and in forming friendships. Mental illness can also interfere with a child’s healthy development, causing problems that can continue into adulthood3
Signs and Symptoms4
Mental health struggles in children can be hard to identify. Children differ from adults in that they experience many physical, mental, and emotional changes as they progress through their natural growth and development. They are also in the process of learning how to cope with, adapt, and relate to others and the world around them. It can be hard to distinguish between the expected emotions of a developing child and a child with mental health struggles. Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:
Do you or your child need help?
If you feel that you are a youth who is experiencing mental health challenges, please reach out to your family, a friend, your family doctor, someone you trust, or to some of the resources below. If you feel that your child is experiencing mental illness, please connect with a health care professional or one of the resources below.
Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third-highest in the industrialized world.
Suicide accounts for:
of deaths among youth aged 10 to 141
of deaths among youth aged 15 to 191
of deaths among young adults aged 20-241
What can we all do to help children with mental illness?5
Help build strong and caring relationships; it is important for children and youth to have strong relationships with family and friends.
Help them develop self-esteem, so they feel good about themselves; show love and acceptance, praise them when they do well, and recognize their efforts and achievements.
Listen and respect their feelings; it’s OK for children and youth to feel sad or angry, encourage them to talk about how they feel. Keep communication and conversation flowing by asking questions and listening to your child
How is Kindred Foundation helping?
Kindred Foundation supports community programs and initiatives focused on improving and helping youth who struggle with mental health challenges. We aim to support these programs as well as build our own to give youth the mental health resources and help that they need.
Common Disorders in Children4
In children aged 3-17:
have received an ADHD diagnosis6
Some Treatment Options
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) - can help a child function better and increase well-being and healing. Typically involves the parents in the treatment, helps teach the child skills to practice at home or school, and measures the progress over time7.
Medications - antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, or other medications. Medications are often used in combination with other treatments. If multiple health care providers or specialists are involved, treatment information should be shared with all Care Team members to ensure co-ordinated care for the child7.
Family Counseling - includes family members in treatment to help create a process of understanding and healing for parents, siblings, and other family members7.
Support for Parents and Families - involves individual or group sessions for parents and caregivers that include education and the opportunity to talk with other parents. These sessions can provide new strategies for supporting a child with mental illness. A therapist also can educate parents a on how to communicate and work with schools on accommodations7.
How COVID-19 has Impacted Mental Health
Due to the pandemic, youths have been stuck at home without much or any contact with friends. Their daily lives have been altered, and this has had a huge impact on their mental health8.
Youth Mental Health Stats in Canada. (2020, September 28). Retrieved from https://ymhc.ngo/resources/ymh-stats/#:~:text=An%20estimated%201.2%20million%20children,have%20developed%20a%20mental%20illness.
Children and Youth. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/what-we-do/children-and-youth
Mayo Cllinic Staff. (2020, February 26). Worried about your child's mental health? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/mental-illness-in-children/art-20046577
Your child's mental health. (2017, May). Retrieved from https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/mentalhealth/mental_health
Data and Statistics on Children's Mental Health. (2021, March 22). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html
Children and Mental Health: Is This Just a Stage? (2021). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/children-and-mental-health
Roy, M., Dinsdale, P., Sultana, A., & Lue, J. S. (2021, August). Preventing a Lockdown Generation. Retrieved from https://www.preventingalockdowngeneration.ca/
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