May 7 is National Child & Youth Mental Health Day. On this day, we highlight the fundamental importance of building caring connections and supportive conversations between young people and the adults in their lives. Mental health is important for all people at any stage in life, and building healthy social connections early can have lasting beneficial effects.
“Positive social attachments not only buffer against the effects of stress and uncertainty but also provide a safe space for each of us to evolve, construct, and solidify our sense of who we are,” says Dr. David R. Fairweather, Registered Psychologist. “We are all wired for connection. The broader our social network, the stronger our resilience.”
We can all benefit from supportive relationships, and creating these early with children and youth can help to mitigate potential harms caused by early life traumas or adverse childhood experiences. There is a strong connection between mental health and substance use; therefore, it is imperative that we tune in to the experience of the young people in our communities and provide supportive spaces for them to be vulnerable and grow.
“The evidence is very strong that youth that have a relationship with a supportive adult do much better than youth that do not have supportive adults to turn to,” says Dr. Allison, Medical Health Officer at Island Health. “Ensuring that youth in the community feel supported by adults is an important investment toward a healthier future.”
There are many resources specifically geared for young people that can help facilitate conversation and connection. Take some time to explore the right option for you and your family and start a caring conversation today!
Foundry provides people aged 12-24 with mental health care, substance use services, physical and sexual health care, and youth and family peer support and social services. Services are free and confidential and offered in-person at one of the 11 Foundry centres across BC, online using the Foundry Virtual BC app, or by phone at 1-833-F0UNDRY (1-833-308-6379).
Kelty is a searchable resource bank that helps families navigate the mental health system, connect with peers, and access tools to support wellbeing. Resources are available for parents and caregivers, health and school professionals, and youth and young adults. Connect with a Parent Peer Support worker by phone at 604-875-2084 or toll-free from anywhere in BC: 1-800-665-1822.
FamilySmart founded National Child & Youth Mental Health Day in 2007. This organization creates opportunities, including events and activities, for home, school, community and organizations to learn about creating caring connections. Learn more by participating in a virtual event: https://may7icare.ca/events/.
Island Health provides mental health services for children, youth and their families. A range of client-centred and trauma-informed services are available to support mental health at any stage. To learn more about our services, please contact us at 250-519-6720.