Yesterday’s announcement by the Ontario Government was shocking to many and an utterly gut-wrenching blow to most parents, caregivers, teachers and children alike.
None of us could have ever imagined that almost 22 months from the start of the Pandemic we’d be smacked in the face yet again with another lockdown or worse, having to navigate our children’s education through a computer screen (I may no longer have children in elementary or high school but I definitely can feel your pain).
Parents are overwhelmed and exhausted more than ever right now; caregivers, teachers and our precious children are too (even those, like mine in University and beyond).
These added Pandemic stressors throughout the last two years have created a devastating amount of disconnect, fear and anger in our lives and for many individuals, especially our young people, it’s led to severe mental health issues for the first time ever or has exasperated mental health concerns further in many who were already suffering before the Pandemic began.
First things first; you are not alone, ever.
And we need to ensure that our children know that they are not alone either or ever. Keep asking them open-ended questions, daily. Listen closer than ever before when they do talk. Keep a watchful eye on their non-verbal cues or new and unusual behaviours.
Reach out to your community or other parents who may be struggling too. There is help available.
The Children’s Mental Health Ontario organization (CMHO) may be a perfect place to start. They offer a wide range of services from in-person meetings to virtual support to crisis lines and will connect you or your child in the right direction toward helping you get further support with issues you may be facing.
They also provide virtual peer support groups for parents or caregivers through “Parents for Children’s Mental Health”. There are chapters available in most regions of Ontario and meet once a month (via Zoom). Having support and a listening ear from like-minded parents within your own community and being able to talk with other parents in a safe, non judgmental environment who may be struggling as well to find some answers or resources as to how to find both the necessary and timely help for their own child’s mental health can bring with it a great sense of comfort and ease.
Check out their website (CMHO.ORG) for more information on all their services or other Provinces.
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