Children and Youth

13 Reasons Why FAQ     The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why ran for four seasons from 2017 to 2020.  It depicted events leading to death by suicide of a young fictional character and covered other troubling issues like bullying, violence, and sexual assault.  While the series inspired dialogue about these issues, it also had potential for harm for those who struggle 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.

1Call1Click.ca is designed to help children, youth (to age 21), and families connect with the right mental health and addiction services and care when they need it.  The service, which covers most of Eastern Ontario, was created in 2019 by the Government of Ontario as a key component of The Kids Come First Health Team.  The Team comprises more than 60 organizations, family and youth partners, nearly 1,100 doctors, and thousands of individuals.

Be There.org 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.

Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP), based in Calgary, Alberta, offers suicide statistics, warning signs for suicide, why children and youth may think about suicide, and how these suicides can be prevented.

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.

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

Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA)    A short YouTube video describes the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s (CHEO)  and The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre’s (The Royal) collaborative 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.  (Link. Duration: 03:19)

Crossroads Children’s Mental Health 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.

Daybreak Not-for-profit Housing     Since 1982, Daybreak has been a place to call home for men and women who not only have difficulty finding affordable housing, but also struggle with issues such as mental health, recovery from addictions, escaping abusive situations, and limited life skills.  Daybreak helps residents rebuild their lives in a supportive community.

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.

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 Ottawa Mental Health Centre.  The site offers information on youth suicide.

Employment Accessibility Resource Network (EARN) is a community initiative, led by United Way Ottawa, that brings together in partnership employers, service providers, and other stakeholders with the goal of increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and promoting inclusive and accessible workplaces.

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.

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.

Family Care Centre by Parents for Children’s Mental Health, a program of Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), is a resource hub for parents and caregivers of children and youth with mental illness.  It provides parents with assistance in navigating the mental health system and in advancing family partnerships, family engagement, and family peer support in child and youth mental health.

Have That Talk    This series of videos and activity guides produced by Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is designed to explain how individuals can take action to reduce stigma, increase support, and encourage people to get help sooner. 

jack.org 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.

Kid’s Mental Health – Ontario     KMHO 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.

Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions (CYMHA) (formerly known as The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health), hosted by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), supports Ontario’s agencies, communities, and decision makers to mobilize knowledge and improve quality across Ontario’s child and youth mental health and addictions sector.

Mental Health Literacy     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.

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.

MindMasters2 is an Ottawa Public Health (OPH) mental health promotion resource that helps children ages four to nine years of age to master emotional regulation through relaxation, positive thinking, and mindfulness.  Designed for both parents and professionals, it introduces children to these skills in fun and age-appropriate ways.

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 a free in-depth guide entitled Teen Mental Health – A Guide for Parents.  Click here.

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), the NCTSN 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.”

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.

Ottawa Bullying Prevention Coalition (OBPC) provides content to Parenting in Ottawa, a resource for parents created by Ottawa Public Health and its community partners.  It 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.

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.

Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (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: A Quick Reference Guide for Early Years Professionals in Ottawa (Link) is 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.

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 Ontario (SMHO-SMSO) provides leadership and guidance about best practices in school mental health; implementation coaching; tailored, co-created resources; mental health literacy for educators, school, and system leaders; training for school mental health professionals; mental health awareness for parents and families; and a platform for student voice and leadership in school mental health.  Through these services, it aims to enhance the quality and consistency of mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention programming in Ontario schools.

Steps to Justice, a guide to law in Ontario, has developed three flowcharts that explain what happens if the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) gets a report about a child (Link), decides a child is in need of protection (Link), or takes the parent or guardian of a child to court (Link).

Suicide Prevention Ottawa (SPO) is a group of organizations working together in Ottawa to make services more effective at preventing suicide among children, youth, and young adults.  It focusses on research, responding after a suicide (or suicide postvention), and building capacity.  It does not provide crisis support; for 24/7 bilingual crisis support, call the Child Youth and Family Crisis Line at 613-260-2360, or 1-877-377-7775 (outside Ottawa), or the Crisis Line at 1-866-996-09.

The Zone Next Steps is designed to help youth age 18-26 with their employment goals.  Facilitated by the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (WOCRC) with the Community Employment Resource Centre, it features tailored plans for each youth, workshops on everything from LinkedIn to résumé writing, and financial supports to pay for certifications as such as SmartServe, WHMIS, Safe Food Handling, etc., or to pay for equipment required for employment, such as work boots, etc.  Interested youth may register by Emailing Youth@wocrc.ca.

Transition Resource Guide for Students with Disabilities: Transition to Post-Secondary Education     This guide was created by the Regional Assessment and Resource Centre (RARC) of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.  RARC provides accurate and comprehensive assessments and follow-up services to post-secondary students with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD).  Click here.

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, phone 613-722-6521, ext. 7225; or Email TAYservice@theroyal.ca.

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 (OMH) and by Home and Community Care Support Services Champlain (HCCSSC) (formerly called The Champlain Local Health Integration Network).

Walking the talk is a toolkit created in 2017 by the Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions (CYMHA) (formerly known as 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.

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.