The Regional Municipality of Durham


News Release

Health Department encourages parents to support child mental health

WHITBY, ON April 27, 2017 – May 1 to 7 is Children’s Mental Health Week and Durham Region Health Department is encouraging area parents and caregivers to consider how they can support the mental health of children in their lives.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.

“Everyone has mental health, including children, and as parents and caregivers, we play an important role in supporting and teaching our children how to take care of their mental health” explained Alla Ladygina, a public health nurse with Durham Region Health Department. “Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from challenges and move forward with new knowledge and skills. A child’s ability to be resilient changes depending on what is going on their life. Children need the support of people who love them to provide a safe and caring environment so they can learn, cope and be resilient.”

Parents and caregivers are in an ideal position to help support resiliency in children and can provide guidance by using a number of strategies.

“Creating connections and bonding with your child is the best way to build their resiliency,” Ms. Ladygina said. “Spending time together, helping with homework and having open, supportive communication are all approaches parents can use to connect with their child. It’s also important for parents to consider ways to support their child’s relationship with the community. Getting involved at your child’s school, volunteering and creating bonds with other trusted adults are all ways to support a child’s sense of belonging.”

Research also indicates that parents can promote problem-solving skills in children by helping a child to find solutions to small problems, which will allow children to be better equipped when life’s bigger problems come along. When a child faces a challenge parents can help them to measure how big the problem is and encourage the child to break the solution down into small steps.

Ms. Ladygina also suggested that parents should focus on developing a child’s emotional skills by letting children know that it’s normal to have feelings and it’s important to express all feelings in positive ways. “Feelings can help your child grow as a person or let them know that something needs to be changed,” she continued. “Parents and caregivers should set a positive example in the way they express their feelings. This can help to let the child know that you understand how they feel and also help them to talk about good ways to deal with their feelings.

“Parents and caregivers play a vital role in helping a child become resilient. It’s through life experiences and relationships that children can learn the skills they need to help them bounce back from life’s stresses and challenges.”

For more information and tips on supporting both your children’s mental health as well as your own, visit durham.ca/mentalhealth or call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6214 or 1-800-841-2729. You can also connect with the Health Department through Durham Healthy Families on Facebook and @DurhamFamilies on Twitter.

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Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999, or glendene.collins@durham.ca

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

For more information, please contact Health Department.