Mental Health for Parents
If this is an emergency, call 911. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help:
- Guelph/Wellington: 1 844 437 3247 (HERE247)
- Dufferin: 519 941 1530 (DCAFS)
- KidsHelpPhone: 1 800 668 6868
This summer, the UGDSB is offering mental health support to students experiencing difficulties. To connect with a clinician please call 519-822-4420 ext. 588. The messages are picked up daily and all calls will be returned within 24 hours. **NOTE; this is not a crisis line and if you are in crisis you can call HERE 24/7 (Wellington/Guelph) at 1-844-437-3247 or DCAFS (Dufferin) at 519-941-1530.
2020 Mental Health Webinars
- August 19, 2020 – Getting back into a School Routine (PDF) and Webinar Recording
- August 24, 2020 – Warning Signs: What to look for to support your child (PDF)
- August 25, 2020 – Return to School: Supporting your child with an intellectual disability (PDF) and Webinar Recording
- August 26, 2020 – Taking care of you so you can be the best parent you can be (PDF) and Webinar Recording
- August 27, 2020 – Return to School: Supporting your child with ASD and Webinar Recording
- November 3, 2020, 4:00 p.m. – Building Mindfulness in Children
- November 9, 2020, 4:00 p.m. – Positive Parenting Strategies – Webinar Recording
- November 17, 2020, 4:00 p.m. – Supporting Children with Anxiety – Link to Webinar
- November 17, 2020, 4:00 p.m. – Taking Care of you so you can be the Best Parent you can be – Link to Webinar
- November 18, 2020 – 4:00 p.m. – Strategies to Support Learning at Home K-3 – Link to Webinar
Mental Health Resources and Information for Parents/Guardians in the UGDSB
- Mental Health Strategy & Action Plan
- Talking About Mental Health
- Access to Mental Health Support
- Mental Health at UGDSB
- Websites & Apps
- Talking to Students About Tragic Events
Ensuring positive student mental health is a shared responsibility of students, staff, parents/guardians and community partners. As part of the provincial Open Minds, Healthy Minds Mental Health Strategy, our board’s Mental Health and Addiction Lead works with stakeholders within our board and in our community, to promote: mentally healthy schools; student mental well being; educator mental health awareness and knowledge; evidence based prevention programs; and clear pathways to care.
We hope the following resources and information will help support mental health and well-being in children, youth and families.
Throughout the school year, UGDSB Mental Health and Addiction experts share tips and resources for improving our mental health and well-being. Click the links below to read more about mental health and well-being in UGDSB schools.
- Talking About Mental Health: October 2020 - Mentally Healthy Return to School
- Talking About Mental Health: June 2020 - Uncertainty, self care and community
- Talking About Mental Health: February 2020 - Stress and tests
- Talking About Mental Health: January 2020 – Starting the year mindfully
- Talking About Mental Health: December 2019 – Give the gift of resiliency
- Talking About Mental Health: November 2019 – Mental Health and Nature
- Talking About Mental Health: October 2019 – Managing all the stresses of back-to-school
- Talking About Mental Health: May 2019 – May 6-10 is Mental Health and Well-being Week
- Talking About Mental Health: April 2019 – Jump-start your brain this spring
- Talking About Mental Health: March 2019 – Random Acts of Kindness
- Talking About Mental Health: January 2019 – Getting outdoors this winter
- Talking About Mental Health: November 2018 – Spending time in nature
- Talking About Mental Health: October 2018 – Building resilience
- Talking About Mental Health: September 2018 – Heading back to school
- Talking About Mental Health: June 2018 – Having a successful shift from school to summer
- Talking About Mental Health: May 2018 – Child and Youth Mental Health and Well-being Week
Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin Branch (CMHA WWD)- formerly Trellis
To access services for Children & Youth in Guelph/Wellington and Adults in Guelph/Wellington/Dufferin for Addictions, Mental Health (including eating disorders and first episode psychosis) and Crisis Services contact:
- Here 24 7 at 1-844 437-3247 (1 844 HERE 24 7)
Walk in Services on Tuesdays for Children/Youth 1:30- 7:00 at 485 Silvercreek Pkwy, Guelph
For general information about CMHA WWD: 519-821-2060
Dufferin Child and Family Services (Children & Youth in Dufferin)
- To access Addictions, Mental Health and Crisis Services call 519-941-1530
- Talk in Services on Tuesdays 1:00- 7:00
- 655 Riddell Road, Orangeville
Additional information about Access to Mental Health Services: Dufferin-Guelph-Wellington (PDF)
The Upper Grand District School Board is committed to creating a welcoming, safe and inclusive learning environment that recognizes the essential connection between mental health and student achievement. The well-being of our students is a shared responsibility and we will ensure all stakeholders are able to collaborate in a coordinated, responsive and effective manner.
UGDSB Core Beliefs
- The connection between mental well-being and student achievement supports every student’s academic and personal success
- Well-being and positive mental health is a shared responsibility between students, staff, families and community
- Students will benefit from a collaborative and shared pathway of care
- A culture of caring and connectedness fosters positive student growth and achievement
- A safe, inclusive and equitable learning environment will enhance student success
There are child and youth counsellors in every elementary school as well as some secondary schools. Elementary schools also have access to counselling and attendance support. All secondary schools have a social worker assigned to them for counselling and attendance. In addition to these in-school supports, every school has a psychology and mental health consultant. The mental health staff work in partnership with special education, speech & language and administrators to support students and their families. Our mental health staff can also support connections to community agencies and referrals to treatment as needed.
If you have a question about what is available in your school please contact your administrator.
UGDSB Mental Health Websites
The Upper Grand's Mental Health parent website provides supports and resources for UGDSB parents/guardians and their children.
Mental Health & Me focuses on student mental health in the UGDSB and provides age appropriate supports and resources. UGDSB students must log into the site using their UGCloud account.
Mental Health and Addiction Websites
Kids Help Phone provides phone and web counselling for youth under the age of 20. Support is free, 24/7, anonymous and confidential.
Mind your mind is a place for youth and young adults to access info, resources and tools during tough times. Help Yourself. Help each other. Share what you live and know.
Self-injury Outreach and Support (SiOS) is part of collaboration between the University of Guelph and McGill University, a non-profit outreach initiative providing information and resources about self-injury to those who self-injure, those who have recovered, and those who want to help.
eMentalHealth provides mental health information sheets on a wide variety of topics of interest to youth, and also provides screening tools.
The ABCs of Mental Health provides information related to different mental health concerns, according to developmental ages. Also provides information to help determine the level of concern (green, yellow or red).
Children’s Mental Health Ontario provides resources about mental health and well-being.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) provides information about mental health and addictions including information for children and youth and parents.
Self/Peer Exploitation – It’s Not Okay: A Resource Guide for Families (PDF) offers practical guidance on the issue of “sexting” – youth creating, sending or sharing sexual images or videos with peers via the Internet or electronic devices.
Teen Suicide Prevention Video (YouTube). In this video created by the Mayo Clinic, teens describe common signs that a teen is considering suicide and provide encouragement for communicating directly and immediately for support and safety. It also Includes suggestions for what to say to a teen who may be at risk for suicide and ways to keep them safe. This is a U.S. video, so the number at the end is for the United States. In our area, please contact HERE247 (1 844 437 3247), DCAFS 519 941 1530 or KidsHelpPhone.ca 1 800 668 6868 if you or your child/teen needs someone to talk to.
Apps for Mental Health
Sadly, when tragic events happen here in Canada or around the world, we know that some students may experience a wide range of reactions and emotions.
Although events like this are rare, they can have an impact on each of us—our children, staff, families and friends. We all respond to situations like this in different ways. Some feel sadness or grief. Some feel anger or a sense of helplessness and anxiety. Whatever we feel is okay, and we want families to know support is available to help you and your children in these situations.
Tips for elementary students
- Recognize that children may become concerned that something bad will happen to them, their family or friends. Explain that safety measures are in place and reassure them that you and other adults will take care of them.
- If your child is not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. Try to avoid having detailed adult conversations regarding the tragedy in front of children. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability. Young children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Pay attention to changes in their behaviour or social interactions.
- Limit exposure to media and social media. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repetitively. Young children in particular may not be able to distinguish between images on television and their personal reality. Older children may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put it into perspective.
- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children feel more secure.
- Be aware of your own needs. Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help. Let your children know you are sad. You will be better able to support them if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.
Tips for secondary students
- Bring up the topic at a time and place where a discussion can occur. If there are distractions, a shortage of time or if either you or your teen is too tired or busy, it is likely the conversation will not be completed. If your teen is not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability.
- It is normal for people to try to make sense of things when a serious loss occurs. Allow your teen to share their ideas and speculations. Help them to separate what they know from what they are guessing about.
- Limit exposure to media and social media. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repetitively. Teenagers may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put it into perspective.
- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children and teens feel more secure.
- Be aware of your own needs. Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help.
- Let your teen know you are affected too. You will be better able to support them if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.
As always, our top priority is the safety and well-being of each of our students—your children. It’s important for you to know help is available through our schools. If you are concerned about your child or feel they need additional support, and you would like to speak with a social worker or counsellor, please contact your school’s principal or vice-principal.
Mental Health Resources during COVID-19
The safety and well-being of our students, their families and staff are our top priority. We are all faced with uncertainty during this time of social distancing and self isolation. It is important to monitor and take care of our mental health. We have prepared some resources to help with managing difficult conversations and supporting overall mental health during these difficult times.
If this is an emergency, call 911. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help:
- Guelph/Wellington: 1 844 437 3247 (HERE247)
- Dufferin: 519 941 1530 (DCAFS)
- KidsHelpPhone: 1 800 668 6868
Supporting your anxious child/ren:
Be patient. Stay calm. Reassure. Provide relevant information and clarity.
Go to reputable sources for information and updates:
Routines provide predictability and can be very supportive for those struggling to cope. Routines can include things such as learning, self care, creativity, and physical activity.
Make yourself available and remain calm:
Children may need some extra attention or affection during these uncertain times. They may want to talk about concerns, fear and questions. Remember children will follow your reactions so it is important to remain calm and reassuring. Emphasize that your children and your family are fine. Remind younger children that the adults will keep them safe. See below for ways to support these conversations with your children.
Share information in concrete way and focus on relevant details:
Limit conversations that children cannot control or help with, such as wage losses. Instead, talk about how you are helping to keep them safe. You can discuss good hygiene and even make games out of washing routines. If children ask for statistics or numbers ensure that you use a reliable source. Most importantly, validate their questions and concerns. Ensure you correct misinformation that they may have seen on social media or heard from others. Encourage them to approach you with questions or set up a regular time, as part of your household routine, to have a discussion to answer questions and discuss new information as appropriate. Be sure that you are being HONEST while also responding in an age appropriate way while avoiding statements like “don’t worry” or “it’s all okay”.
Age Appropriate Explanations: (adapted from www.cmhaww.ca)
JK to Grade 3: need brief, simple information that should balance COVID-19 facts with appropriate reassurances that their schools and homes are safe and that adults are there to help keep them healthy and to take care of them if they do get sick. Give simple examples of the steps people take every day to stop germs and stay healthy, such as washing hands. Use language such as “adults are working hard to keep you safe.”
Grades 4-6: will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what will happen if COVID-19 comes to their school or community. They may need assistance separating reality from rumor and fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to prevent germs from spreading.
Grades 7-12 Upper middle school and high school students are able to discuss the issue in a more in-depth (adult-like) fashion and can be referred directly to appropriate sources of COVID-19 facts. Provide honest, accurate, and factual information about the current status of COVID-19. Having such knowledge can help them feel a sense of control.
Monitor television viewing and social media:
Over exposure to information can be very upsetting and impact your child’s ability to cope. Take the time to discuss how not everything on social media and the internet is always accurate information. Return to the above noted reliable sources to focus on information gathering. Remember, information designed for adults can increase anxiety and concern in children. So monitor your child’s use but also your own as well!
Reach out and stay connected:
Organize phone calls, face-time or other methods to create connection during social isolation. Connectedness is an important part of mental wellness.
There are Apps available for Mental Health:
SAM (Self-Help for Anxiety Management)
Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM) is a free app that provides people with instructions and activities for managing anxiety. Users can log in and trend their present level of anxiety, list things that make them anxious, read about activities for improving anxiety management, use tools (e.g. though recorder, breathing timer) for anxiety management, bookmark useful tools and approaches, and discuss anxiety management with other users.
SuperBetter builds resilience – the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of change and difficult challenges. Playing SuperBetter unlocks heroic potential to overcome tough situations and achieve goals that matter most. (F)
Overcome stress and negative thoughts. Build Resilience. (S)
Made for meditation on the go (“Urban Meditation”)
Stop, Breathe, and Think
Emotional tracker lets you note moods before and after meditating and track your mental wellness over time.
The Five Minute Journal
The Five Minute Journal is based on proven positive psychology research. It focuses your attention on the good in your life and helps you set action in just 5 minutes a day.
A meditation app for beginners that also includes programs for intermediate and advanced meditators. Guided meditation sessions are available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 minutes so you can choose the length that best fits your schedule.
Learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with their free Basics pack. If you enjoy it, you can subscribe.
Additional COVID-19 mental health resources:
- A Suicide Prevention Guide for Parents and Families During COVID-19 and Returning to School
- Mental Health and Well-Being Resource List and Contact Information
- Noticing Mental Health Concerns for your child
- Supporting Mental Health and Wellness During the Return to School
- ‘Brains On’ (A Podcast for kids) –Understanding Coronavirus and how germs spread
- World Health Organization (WHO) – Coping with Stress during Covid-19
- WHO Infographic – Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak
- MPR News – Comic about Coronavirus for Kids – based on an NPR interview
- Psychology Today – Article: How to talk to Kids and Teens about the Coronavirus
- Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation – Helping Children and Teens Cope with Anxiety About COVID-19
- CDC – Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children
- Coronavirus Social Story by KeshetChicago
- Toronto District School Board – Helping Your Kids in Changing Times
- Toronto District School Board – Tips for Supporting Teens
- School Mental Health Ontario – How to Support Student Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic
- Kids Help Phone – We’re Here for You During Covid-19
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – Talking to Children about Covid-19 and Its Impact
- Children’s Mental Health Ontario – Talking to Your Anxious Child about Covid-19
- Steps to self awareness and self regulation
Additional mental health resources:
- The ABCs of Mental Health
- Teen Mental Health
- eMental Health
- Kids Help Phone
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
- Free Mental Health Counselling
- Mind check
- Children’s Mental Health Ontario
- Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health
- Anxiety BC
- Talking about Mental Health Durham
- National Institute for Mental Health
- Helping Other Parents Everywhere
- Mind Your Mind
- Caring for Kids (Canadian Paediatric Society)