Children and Youth

13 Reasons Why FAQ     There has been considerable public interest related to the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.  This series, now in its second season, depicts events leading to death by suicide of a young fictional character, and covers other troubling issues like bullying, violence, and sexual assault.  While the series may inspire helpful dialogue about these issues, it also has potential for harm for those who may be struggling with a mental health problem and/or suicidal ideation.  This 13 Reasons Why FAQ from School Mental Health-Assist (SMH-Assist), a provincial implementation support team designed to help Ontario school boards promote student mental health and well-being, may be helpful for those parents and caregivers trying to understand the concerns, and to find ways to support young people around this series.

Be helps individuals learn how to recognize when someone might be struggling with their mental health and provides 5 Golden Rules to support them.

Best Start is Ontario’s Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre which supports service providers working on preconception health, prenatal health, and early child development.  The Centre is a key program of Health Nexus, a bilingual health promotion organization that works with diverse partners to build healthy, equitable, and thriving communities.    See also: Red Flags, below, for the Quick Reference Guide.]

Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC), is a national, non-profit, umbrella organization providing leadership in education and advocacy for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder organizations and individuals across Canada.

Child and Youth Mental Health Toolkits    A practical, user-friendly resource for screening, assessment, and treatment of child and youth mental health problems commonly presenting in primary care.

Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators (2008)    This toolkit from the U.S. National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides school administrators, teachers, staff, and concerned parents with basic information about working with traumatized children in the school system.  It includes sections specifically for parents entitled “Understanding Child Traumatic Stress: A Guide for Parents” and “Brief Information on Childhood Traumatic Grief.”

Children and Suicide Toolkit     This 16-page toolkit from the Calgary-based Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) includes statistics, warning signs for suicide, why children may think about suicide, and how these suicides can be prevented.  While suicide in children is rare, if thoughts of suicide go untreated, the risk of suicide grows with age.  It is important to identify children thinking about suicide as early as possible so they can receive treatment for mental health concerns.

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario – Mental Health     CHEO has created this mental health Web site to help navigate the many services and resources available to children, youth, and their families.

Children’s Mental Health – Ontario     CMHO represents and supports the providers of child and youth mental health treatment services throughout Ontario.  Core membership consists of more than 80 community-based children’s mental health centres that serve some 150,000 children and their families annually.

Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA)    A one-page description of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s (CHEO)  and The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre’s (The Royal) program in which patients and service providers work together to choose the right outpatient care plan for children and youth under the age of 18, based on their individual strengths and goals.  See also: the Choice Appointment video produced by Nova Scotia’s IWK Health Centre for an example of how the technique works.]

Crossroads Children’s Centre     The Centre is a fully accredited children’s mental health centre that provides services for children with complex mental health needs up to age 12.  The multidisciplinary Crossroads team has specialized expertise in delivering treatment and related services for children with severe emotional, behavioural, and social difficulties.

Dear PLEO     This is a question and answer resource provided by the Parents’ Lifeline of Eastern Ontario (PLEO) for parents of children struggling with mental health challenges, and for those who support them.  To connect with this service, Email PLEO at or message their Facebook page.

Do It For Daron     DIFD created a dialogue that was missing in the community, one that is bringing hope and inspiration to thousands of youth.  The movement has also raised thousands of dollars to support youth mental health research and education led by The Royal.  The site offers information on youth suicide.

Everyday Mental Health Classroom Resource     Developed over two years through a collaboration between the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (EFTO) and School Mental Health ASSIST, this resource is designed to support elementary educators (K-8) in this role by offering a repository of high-quality everyday mental health practices that can be easily incorporated into classroom routines.  (Aussi disponible en français.)

Families for Addiction Recovery (FAR Canada), based in Scarborough, Ontario, advocates for the regulation of addictive substances in accordance with their relative harm to protect families, and for the elimination of barriers to publicly-funded, timely, compassionate, evidence-based treatment.  They also offer a program called Parent-to-Parent (P2P) to provide support for parents whose children, regardless of age, are struggling with addiction.  Trained parent supporters with lived experience will lend an understanding ear and speak about strategies that can help both parent and child. All services are free and confidential.

Have That Talk     A mental health video campaign created by Ottawa Public Health to give parents more information about mental health and to enable them to discuss mental health issues with their child or teen.  Public Health has also produced a one-page brochure, entitled Children and Mental Health: What Every Parent Should Know, in English and French, which provides parents with many useful suggestions and resources. is a national network of young leaders transforming the way people think about mental health though initiatives and programs designed with the input of young people.  The organization encourages and enables young people to become leaders in the mental health conversation.  These leaders identify barriers to positive mental health in their communities and work to break down those barriers through conversation, camaraderie, creativity, and community building. listens to and reflects the youth voice because they need, and deserve, to be the key voice in the conversation about their own mental well-being.  A free guide, Opening the door to better mental health for your youth, is designed to help parents and caregivers forge and strengthen connections with their child and support their youth’s mental health.  See also, powered by, for additional information and resources.

MindMasters2   The Child and Youth Health Network for Eastern Ontario (CYHNEO) and CHEO created MindMasters 2 in 2016.  It builds on and enhances the evidence-based resource, MindMasters, by bringing together new techniques and technology to meet the needs of today’s children.  The MindMasters series are mental health promotion resources that help children master emotional regulation to cope with stress through relaxation, positive thinking, and mindfulness-based techniques.

Mind Shift is one of the best mental health apps designed specifically for teens and young adults with anxiety.  Rather than trying to avoid anxious feelings, Mind Shift stresses the importance of changing how one thinks about anxiety.  The app encourages young individuals to take charge of their lives, ride out intense emotions, and face challenging situations.  (Free; iOS and Android)

Mind Your Mind    A program of ConnexOntario Health Information Services, funded by the Government of Ontario, mindyourmind works with young people aged 14-29 to co-create interactive tools and innovative resources to build capacity and resilience.  The site offers information about mental health issues and illnesses.

MyTutor is a U.K.-based commercial tutoring service which provides useful tips and advice for parents to help their teens overcome body image issues, academic anxiety, peer pressure, and cyberbullying.  It includes links to other teen mental health resources which may likewise prove helpful.  The company published an in-depth guide entitled Teen Mental Health – A Guide for Parents.  Click here.

The National Collaboration for Youth Mental Health (NCYMH)    An Ottawa-based, multi-faith, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) group of dedicated educators, youth, university students, and humanitarians from across Canada which addresses the unique and diverse mental health needs of children, youth, and families so students can reach their full potential.

Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health (OCECYMH)    Works with mental health agencies to build an effective, accessible system of care; offers professionals on the front line of care a diverse collection of tools, services, products, and training.

Ottawa Bullying Prevention Coalition (OBPC) brings together community stakeholders to create and implement an Ottawa Safe City Plan of Action designed to increase the capacity of community members to effectively and consistently support, report and respond to bullying in an evidence informed approach.

Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB)    Describes the Board’s programs dealing with mental health and offers many links to resources.

Ottawa Catholic School Board Mental Health Resources (OCSBDescribes the Board’s programs dealing with mental health, focusing on awareness, prevention, and early intervention.

Ottawa Catholic School Parents’ Association Mental Health Resources  (OCSPA)  Provides links to presentations and Web resources for school councils and parents.

The Parent Resource Centre, a children’s charity with more than 40 years of service in the child and youth sector, is a leader in family support programs and comprehensive training for professionals.  With a focus on child development, parent support, training, and research, the PRC aims to have a lasting impact on the well-being of children.  Through using best practices, the Centre offers a holistic approach to support children, parents, and caregivers, as well as front-line service providers who work with and nurture children.

Parent to Parent (P2P) – See: Families for Addiction Recovery (FAR), above.

Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEO)   The Ottawa chapter of Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH), PLEO provides support and information to parents and caregivers with children, youth, and young adults to age 24 who are facing mental health challenges.

Red Flags is a Quick Reference Guide designed to assist Early Years Professionals in Ottawa in determining whether there is a need to refer families or caregivers to seek out additional advice, screening, assessment or treatment for their child.  It is not an assessment or diagnostic tool.  See also: Best Start, above.

Roberts Smart Centre     An accredited children’s mental health centre that delivers specialized bilingual treatment and clinical services designed to improve the lives of youth living with complex behavioral and emotional needs, involving and supporting families and collaborating with partners in an integrated community-based system.

School Mental Health-Assist    A provincial implementation support team which operates in conjunction with the Ontario Ministry of Education to help Ontario school boards promote student mental well-being, and to enhance support for students who struggle with mental health and addictions problems through a focus on leadership, capacity-building, and implementation support.  Among other resources, the Web site site offers a useful one-page handout on personal resiliency.

Supporting Students’ Mental Health    On November 8, 2018, the Council of the Ontario College of Teachers approved a professional advisory, entitled Supporting Students’ Mental Health, intended to help Ontario Certified Teachers (OCTs, which includes, but is not limited to, teachers, consultants, principals, vice-principals, supervisory officers, directors of education and those working in non-school board positions) support students with mental health concerns.  Although intended for the above-mentioned educational professionals, parents of children and youth who are currently students in Ontario schools might be interested in learning how this advisory aims to help OCTs enhance their professional knowledge and practice with respect to understanding how to support students’ mental health while under their supervision.

Teen Mental Health     An initiative of Halifax’s IWK Health Centre, a primary clinical resource for pediatric and obstetric teaching affiliated with Dalhousie University, the program‘s vision is to help improve the mental health of youth by the effective translation and transfer of scientific knowledge.

Transitional Aged Youth Service (TAY)     An outpatient, community-based clinic offered by The Royal, and located at the Carlingwood Mall, which provides multidisciplinary, recovery-focused care to youth, aged 16 to 25, with concurrent substance use and mental health disorders. Services may include diagnostic assessment, case management, individual or group therapy, and access to psychological, medical, and psychiatric care.  Physician referrals are not required.  For details, see the flyer; phone 613-722-6521, ext. 7225; or Email

Transitioning to Post-Secondary Education for Students with ADHD     The Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada has developed a 14-page toolkit to help students and their parents prepare for the transition to college or university.  Click here to download a copy.

Understanding Eating Disorders in Adolescence – useful resources and links.

Upstream Ottawa’s mission is to offer adults, youth, and their families the community-based supports and services they need to rebuild lives affected by persistent mental illness.  Created in 1985, it offers a variety of services, such as a psychiatric assessment clinic and social and recreational group events.  Funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Champlain Local Health Integration Network.

Walking the talk is a toolkit created in 2017 by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health for agencies to engage with youth in mental health by learning skills and working on issues they’re passionate about to contribute to social change.  The toolkit provides a better understanding of youth engagement and how it can directly benefit agencies in Ontario’s child and youth mental health sector.

Youth Mental Health Canada (YMHC) is a grassroots, youth-driven and –led, non-profit organization based in Hamilton, Ontario, which is focused on education and advocacy for youth mental health change.  It advocates for greater funding of publicly-funded, culturally-sensitive, needs-based, innovative supports and services in healthcare and education.  It offers a number of booklets and other items for sale.

Youth Net     Youth Net/Réseau Ado Ottawa is a bilingual intervention program that works from a youth engagement philosophy, offering alternative support services for youth.  Programs and services focus on prevention, intervention, education, research, and advocacy.

Youth Services Bureau – Mental Health     The YSB works with various community partners to deliver integrated programs and services in 20 sites across Ottawa.  Building on the resources available in their immediate environments, the Bureau guides high-risk youth through threats to their physical, sexual, and mental well-being.

Youth WRAP     Wellness Recovery Action Plan Workshop – is a peer-led, free, 8-10 week self-managed recovery planning process for youth between the ages of 16 and 24.  The program is designed to decrease and prevent troubling feelings and behaviours, increase personal empowerment, improve the quality of life, and assist people in achieving their own goals and dreams.  The group meets once a week for 2.5 hours on Thursday evenings, starting June 7, 2018.  For registration and details, contact Melissa Yaxley-Stillman, 613-567-4379, Ext. 115, Email:

YoungMinds, established in 1993, is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional well-being and mental health of children and young people.  The resource library is full of useful toolkits, publications, reports, and policy information about children and young people’s mental health.