Many of you know me as a wife, mother, writer, and pop culture junkie who consumes gallons of coffee while writing blog posts and watching Netflix . What some of you may not know is that my day job (when I’m not on maternity leave) is as a school counsellor. Working daily with children and youth, mental health awareness and education for this group of young people has become a passion of mine. My passion in this area has grown exponentially since having my own children as I am now also focused on how to best meet the mental health needs of my own wee ones.
As parents, we only want the best for our children’s mental health, and it is easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of resources available in this area. In light of this and in honour of Bell Let’s Talk Day today, I’m sharing 5 of my favourite websites for promoting positive mental health for children, youth, and their families.
- Kids Help Phone – The Kids Help Phone has been around for a long time, and as an adult who works in the field of children’s mental health, I’m here to tell you this is so much more than a helpline for young people; it is an indispensable resource. There are tabs that separate the Kids area from the Teen area, there’s an app that is downloadable to make the information and resources readily available on-the-go, and there are counsellors available at the click of a button. Not only that, the site is interactive, engaging, and age appropriate for both children and teens. Parents – you will want to check out this resource as well. Teachers – the site makes it easy to order resources for your classrooms.
- Kids Health – The Kids Health site is another resource that has been around for a long time (they just celebrated 20 years), and with good reason. Separated into 3 sections (Parents, Kids, and Teens) topics cover both physical and mental health issues. Each area has articles on a plethora of topics, each article has an easy print-out, and most have an audio component. In addition to resources for parents and children, Kids Health also boasts fantastic resources for teachers that span ages preschool through grade 12.
- Anxiety BC – In the field of school counselling, my colleagues and I are seeing the rates of anxiety in children continue to rise year after year. The Anxiety BC website has been a great addition to our toolbox for a few reasons. The website provides resources for both adults and youth including educators and health professionals. There are some resources available for purchase; however, the self-help section provides at-home toolkits, and there are links available for free resources. Finally, the MindShift app is worth the visit to this site alone. It’s targeted age group is teens and young adults, and it’s goal is to help build relaxation strategies, address different ways of thinking, and build strategies for coping.
- More than Medication – This website provides tipsheets, games, videos, and other resources related to healthy living. The coolest resources I found on this site are the stress lessons and videos available for free for educators.
- Here to Help – Some useful tools on this website: the visions journal, the wellness modules, and the workbooks. Despite these resources being great, what I especially like about this site is the tab dedicated to family members of folks who live with mental health issues, and the toolkits available for this often overlooked group.
As helpful as all of these resources are, please remember that they are not meant as a replacement for professional help.
Now, go visit Bell Let’s Talk and get on your social media sites, because today Bell will donate 5 cents for every text message sent, every mobile and long distance call made, every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, and every Bell Let’s Talk Facebook image shared.
Together we CAN end the stigma around mental health.