Circle of trust crucial to help kids deal with mental health struggles like anxiety, stress, depression and bullying at school

Circle of trust crucial to help kids deal with mental health struggles like 
anxiety, stress, depression and bullying at school 
Simple tips for parents and kids to connect 
TORONTO, Nov. 15, 2012 /CNW/ -The proverb that "it takes a village to raise a 
child" may not be far from the truth when helping kids struggling with their 
mental health. As a parent, teacher or friend of a young person dealing with 
anxiety, stress, depression, bullying, or other form of mental health 
challenges, one of the most important things you can do to support them is 
connect them with others, helping them to build a circle of trust. 
"At Kids Help Phone, kids often turn to us because they need help, but they 
don't want to worry their parents," said Sharon Wood, president & CEO, Kids 
Help Phone, and a mother to two teenagers. "As a parent, we may feel that our 
kids should confide in us about everything. But in reminding them that support 
can come from a variety of sources including: family, friends, neighbours, and 
organizations like Kids Help Phone, we are helping our children become 
independent and resourceful." 
According to the 2012 RBC Children's Mental Health poll, 63 per cent of 
parents would like to think that their child would approach them about mental 
health issues but according to a companion poll of youth who visited the Kids 
Help Phone website, children are more inclined to confide in their friends 
(50%), rather than a mother (30 per cent), a health professional (22 per cent) 
or a father (10 per cent). 
"Many parents and children don't discuss mental health concerns," said Dr. Ian 
Manion, psychologist, executive director of the Ontario Centre of Excellence 
for Child and Youth Mental Health. "Kids who suffer in silence can obsess over 
simple issues that can quickly become unmanageable. Parents who have regular 
conversations with their children about feelings and behaviour are more likely 
to identify potential concerns early." 
The RBC poll found that one significant barrier to early intervention, 
diagnosis and treatment of a child's mental health issue may be perceived 
stigma. An overwhelming majority of parents agree that children with a mental 
health condition are stigmatized among their peers (84 per cent) or among 
adults (76 per cent). 
Mental health is not a one-time discussion; conversations between children and 
parents should evolve and grow. Nobody should have to struggle in silence. 
Here are some simple tips to keeping an open dialogue with your kids and 
talking about mental health. 
Three simple tips for parents  

    --  Encourage openness: Encourage your child to come to you with
        issues, and remind them that nothing they could say would make
        you love them less; explicitly tell them that you're always
        ready to hear what is going on in their lives.
    --  Connect them with resources: Accept that your child may not
        turn to you with every issue they face. Let them know that
        there are other adults they can trust, like teachers, guidance
        counsellors, doctors and places like Kids Help Phone where they
        can go for help.
    --  Set a good example: It's okay to admit you're feeling tired,
        grumpy, or upset after work, it is important for kids to
        understand that everyone goes through tough times, even

Three simple tips for kids 
    --  Strong feelings are okay: Every one has intense feelings
        sometimes. Even if you don't feel comfortable going to your
        parents right away, there are people available to help.
        Teachers, counsellors, doctors and places like Kids Help Phone
        are always there.
    --  There are ways to manage your feelings: Asking for help is not
        a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength and
        resourcefulness. Reach out to the person you think is best able
        to help, and tell them how you want to be supported
    --  .Keep talking until somebody listens: It is very frustrating to
        feel as if people (especially your parents) do not understand
        what you are saying. Do not let that frustration stop you from
        talking to someone else, until you feel heard and supported.

For the child who is not ready to talk, a wealth of kid-friendly, age 
appropriate information is available at, Kid's Help Phone's 
interactive website. By visiting the site with the young people in their 
lives, parents and teachers can start a conversation on the challenges youth 
are facing today, and together get to know the resources and tips that are 
clinically endorsed by Canada's leading online and phone counselling service 
for youth.

The RBC poll showed that while parents generally agree that the biggest issue 
facing children with mental illness is not stigma but access to information 
and services, most still believe that the stigma is significant enough to 
warrant a way to access information on the subject anonymously.

"Kids Help Phone is available to all young people in Canada, no matter the 
situation, question or concern, online, by phone and, in a limited pilot 
service, by live chat on computers and smartphones," added Wood. "Kids turn to 
us because they know we don't ask for their name, we don't trace calls or IP 
addresses. They can say whatever is on their mind, we won't judge and we'll 
always help them find a solution that works for them."

RBC Foundation's $1 million investment in Kids Help Phone is the largest gift 
ever by the Foundation in support of child and youth mental health in Canada. 
RBC Foundation's support represents an early, important contribution to the 
new funding necessary to build live chat counselling to a full national 
service, available free of charge to young people in distress anywhere in 

About Kids Help Phone
Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has been Canada's leading online and phone 
counselling service for youth. It's free, it's anonymous and confidential, and 
it's available any time of the day or night, 365 days a year in English and in 
French. Professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of 
young people, ages five to 20, by providing one-on-one counselling, 
information and resources. As a community-based national charity, Kids Help 
Phone receives no core government funding and relies on community and 
corporate support to fund its essential and vital service.

Like us on | Follow us on Twitter @kidshelpphone | 
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About the RBC Children's Mental Health Parents Poll
The RBC Children's Mental Health Parents Poll was completed online from July 
19 to August 3, 2012 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a 
sample of 2,568 Canadian parents with at least one child under the age of 
18.A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of 
±1.93 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Kids Help Phone commissioned a companion poll to the 2012 RBC Children's 
Mental Health Parents Poll asking 115 youth visiting the Kids Help Phone 
website, who they have or would speak to about their mental health concerns.

About the RBC Children's Mental Health Project
The RBC Children's Mental Health Project is a multi-year philanthropic 
commitment to programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and 
increase public awareness about children's mental health issues. The RBC 
Children's Mental Health Project is our cornerstone 'health and wellness' 
donations program, and since 2008, we have donated over $12 million to more 
than 200 community-based and hospital programs across Canada. Sharon Wood and 
Dr. Ian Manion are advisors to the RBC Children's Mental Health Project. For 
more information, visit

André C. Roberts, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-974-3678,

Pascale Guillotte, Director of Communications - Kids Help Phone,  


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CO: Children's Mental Health
ST: Ontario

-0- Nov/15/2012 15:31 GMT

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