Category Archives: Uncategorized

Children’s Mental Health Resources

mentalHealthHere’s a listing of some well-known, larger mental health organizations mixed with smaller, regional locations. If you’re in one of these regions and need help with your child’s mental health issues, please click on the links and reach out.

Kinark Family & Child Services

Offering one-on-one mental health counseling, autism support and group programs for children and youth. Servicing York Region and other smaller regions in north-east Ontario.

Seeds of Empathy

“Sister” organization to Roots of Empathy; this organization fosters emotional literacy in young children.

Strongest Families Institute

Offering counselling services and specific assistance programs via the internet and telephone. Servicing certain areas in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta.

Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Not a mental health organization per se, the IMFC presents research and studies on issues affecting families. marriage and children in Canada. There are some useful facts and resources on the site.

Early Childhood Development Support Services (ECDSS)

Offering development and training to professionals in the human services sector and home visits to new mothers who face challenges. ECDSS operates in Edmonton, Alberta.

Ominous

She went to chase the storm.The murky waters of mood disorder

Closer it called

Come to me. Come find me.

So she approached. Slowly at first and then more quickly. Exhilerated.

It wasn’t long before the storm engulfed her.

Surrounding, beating, pulsating, bleary, engulfing.

Take me, she said.

Gladly it answered.

Blackness surrounded her and she was happy.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

changeWelcome (back).

It’s been almost two years to the day that Kids And Mental Health went on hiatus and so much has happened during that time: personal change, career change, relationship change…

It’s a lot of disruption – some good, some bad. But, in keeping with David Bowie: “I’ve turned and faced the strain” and am learning to adapt.

This is a lovely thought on change by Rumi: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Whether stressful or exhilarating, change is a fact of life. My children, as they grow and evolve, are learning to adapt to new friends, teachers, schools and circumstances.

I’m constantly wondering: If we introduce change in a positive but meaningful and realistic way, can we help our children be more flexible? Does it matter as change will inevitably come to them? We always want to protect our kids – take away (or at least lessen) hurt feelings, pain, slights and embarrassments but so much of how we react to things is based on individual personality.

For instance, It’s taken me a very long time to become philosophical about life changes. At one time, a friend moving away would mean anguish and sadness. Now, while I’d certainly be upset if a good friend moved away, I try to remember that new friends will be made and old friendships can be cherished and nurtured.

How do you, your children and family deal with change? What’s your philosophy on  inevitable life shifts?

When Vicious Behaviour Goes Viral

Towards the Light

Towards the Light

By now, most of the world has heard about Rehteah Parsons’ life and death.

Beautiful, young and said to show great compassion for both humans and animals, Rehteah was sexually assaulted at a party, photographed and then victimized all over again when the photo was posted and shared by who knows how many students.

Ironically, the cause of so much of Rehteah’s pain and torture (social media) is now one of the vehicles being used to express outrage and promote justice.

Just this morning I signed a petition on Change.org demanding an independent inquiry into the police investigation which declared that no crime had taken place regarding both the rape and distribution of graphic and revealing photos. There are also Facebook pages set up, tweets posted and emails being sent to Justice Minister Ross Landry.

Why does it take death and despair to invoke a change in our laws? How can we use social media in a way that’s innovative and useful without promoting hatred, bullying, stress and destruction? Obviously, the way we engage in and rely on social media must change. Now.

Tell Me!

Tell Me!

Recently, I received two non-fiction children’s books written by Leanne Matlow – a counselor and workshop facilitator based in Toronto. Her two books are: Thinking About Thoughts and Tell Me!

Tell Me!, illustrated by Tamar Tal-El, focuses on the worry, anxiety and concern that sometimes consumes children and teens.

In this short colourful book, a pre-teen is worried about her twin sister, Kim. Kim is dealing with an anxiety disorder and the book cleverly and clearly illustrates how one family member’s health concerns can radiate out to affect family and friends. Kim’s sister is frustrated because although she can see that  Kim is suffering and her personality has changed, no one explains what’s going on. She herself feels anxious and alone.

After speaking with her parents, our protagonist understands that Kim is having a difficult time. She begins to see a “coach” named Dr. Simon who later explains to her whole family what’s happening with Kim and how they too can help her out. “Finally, the truth!” says our protagonist.

Dr. Simon goes on to outline the four “superheroes” whom Kim uses to help stay calm and focused. They are:

1) Do-It Guy who tells us it’s best not to avoid; just give it a try.

2) Distraction Dude helps us focus on something else instead of our anxious thoughts.

3) Whoa! Man reminds us how to stop unreal, unwanted or unhelpful thoughts.

4) The Reflector assists us by reminding us of our past successes.

If your child is dealing with anxiety you may want to pick up Tell Me! and use it as a tool for meaningful discussion. Let me know if you do.

Leanne Matlow is a Professional Colleague of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and an Associate member of the Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies. Leanne’s blog for parents can be found at http://lmatlow.blogspot.ca.

You’re the Voice Inside Their Head

Admission: I’ve missed my self-imposed weekly deadline by about 9 hours. You know what? After the day I had yesterday, I’m going to give myself a break. Enjoy the post.

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Help me shape my brain, will you?

Being a writer and a “people person” (whether that’s virtual or IRL) I tend to be on social media a lot. Now, I’m not even close to the top of the heap for followers, friends, link-ers, plus-ers, pin-ers, etc., but I do post information, thoughts, images and review others’ posts almost daily.

If you’re on Facebook, you know it’s rife with serious or tongue-in-cheek e-cards, mini-posters and political statements. I see dozens each day. However, recently, a friend posted an inspirational ad which really struck me.

It said something like, “The way you speak to your child will be the voice inside their head.”

Why did it strike such a chord with me? I’m not sure but I’ve been thinking about the statement ever since I saw it. Perhaps it’s because I have so much going on in my own brain – always have. Conversations, admonishments, occasional encouragements, comments, questions, nagging reminders…the list (and those nagging reminders) goes on and on.

If mine is going to be the voice inside my child’s head, I want it to be the practical yet positive lead cheerleader not the bitter, angry football coach. I know firsthand how harsh inner voices (read: critics) can be and, ideally, my children’s not-so-silent inner voices will be shouting out, “Way to go!” and “Keep your head held high” instead of, “Why are you so stupid?” or “Try harder next time, moron”.

What does your inner voice have to say today?

Superparents Need Not Apply

Yeesh. If I’m going to stick to my promise of posting at least one blog post a week then I’d better post this puppy in the next few hours.

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I’ve been watching a new show called America’s Supernanny on Slice.ca. You may be familiar with the original Supernanny, Jo Frost, whose “UK nanny teaches parents to parent” TV show prompted much talk around the ol’ water cooler (virtual and otherwise).

I’m not supermom by any stretch but watching the first few episodes of America’s Supernanny has made me sweat and cringe on more than one occasion: There have been horrible bouts of swearing, hitting, threatening, punching, soda-drinking, sugar imbibing, and head-butting… and that’s often just sibling to sibling.

Today “Miss Deborah” was pointing out to one set of parents with four young boys that they were, in fact, clueless. And, indeed, they did seem pretty clueless. They had a beautiful large home, lovely furniture and toys and it was obvious that the boys were loved. But, when it came to discipline, there was none. They (almost literally) let their kids get away with murder because, as the father pointed out, he “didn’t want to be the bad guy.”

Um, really? That’s how you see it, mister? You’re their parent for ____ ‘s sake. Parent your children. Letting them get away with murder isn’t doing you or them any favours. It’s astounding to me that some parents don’t get (or choose not to see) that setting limits actually makes things easier for kids and the family. Drinking a Coke at 10 pm and then swinging from the rafters may be a fun night out in university but it sure ain’t appropriate for a seven-year-old. I think Miss Deborah is right on target with her no-nonsense approach to good parenting.

Have you seen the show? What do you think?