Circle of Trust Crucial to Help Kids Deal with
Mental Health Struggles like Anxiety, Stress, Depression and
Bullying at School
Simple tips for parents and kids to connect
TORONTO, November 15, 2012 - The proverb that "it
takes a village to raise a child" may not be far from
the truth when helping kids struggling with their mental health.
As a parent, teacher or friend of a young person dealing with
anxiety, stress, depression, bullying, or other form of mental
health challenges, one of the most important things you can
do to support them is connect them with others, helping them
to build a circle of trust.
"At Kids Help Phone, kids often turn to us because they
need help, but they don't want to worry their parents,"
said Sharon Wood, president & CEO, Kids Help Phone, and
a mother to two teenagers. "As a parent, we may feel
that our kids should confide in us about everything. But in
reminding them that support can come from a variety of sources
including: family, friends, neighbours, and organizations
like Kids Help Phone, we are helping our children become independent
According to the 2012 RBC Children's Mental Health poll,
63 per cent of parents would like to think that their child
would approach them about mental health issues but according
to a companion poll of youth who visited the Kids Help Phone
website, children are more inclined to confide in their friends
(50%), rather than a mother (30 per cent), a health professional
(22 per cent) or a father (10 per cent).
"Many parents and children don't discuss mental health
concerns," said Dr. Ian Manion, psychologist, executive
director of the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and
Youth Mental Health. "Kids who suffer in silence can
obsess over simple issues that can quickly become unmanageable.
Parents who have regular conversations with their children
about feelings and behaviour are more likely to identify potential
The RBC poll found that one significant barrier to early
intervention, diagnosis and treatment of a child's mental
health issue may be perceived stigma. An overwhelming majority
of parents agree that children with a mental health condition
are stigmatized among their peers (84 per cent) or among adults
(76 per cent).
Mental health is not a one-time discussion; conversations
between children and parents should evolve and grow. Nobody
should have to struggle in silence. Here are some simple tips
to keeping an open dialogue with your kids and talking about
Three simple tips for parents
- Encourage openness: Encourage your child to come
to you with issues, and remind them that nothing they could
say would make you love them less; explicitly tell them
that you're always ready to hear what is going on in their
- Connect them with resources: Accept that your child
may not turn to you with every issue they face. Let them
know that there are other adults they can trust, like teachers,
guidance counsellors, doctors and places like Kids Help
Phone where they can go for help.
- Set a good example: It's okay to admit you're feeling
tired, grumpy, or upset after work, it is important for
kids to understand that everyone goes through tough times,
Three simple tips for kids
- Strong feelings are okay: Every one has intense
feelings sometimes. Even if you don't feel comfortable going
to your parents right away, there are people available to
help. Teachers, counsellors, doctors and places like Kids
Help Phone are always there.
- There are ways to manage your feelings: Asking
for help is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength
and resourcefulness. Reach out to the person you think is
best able to help, and tell them how you want to be supported.
- Keep talking until somebody listens: It is very
frustrating to feel as if people (especially your parents)
do not understand what you are saying. Do not let that frustration
stop you from talking to someone else, until you feel heard
For the child who is not ready to talk, a wealth of kid-friendly,
age appropriate information is available at kidshelpphone.ca,
Kid's Help Phone's interactive website. By visiting the site
with the young people in their lives, parents and teachers
can start a conversation on the challenges youth are facing
today, and together get to know the resources and tips that
are clinically endorsed by Canada's leading online and phone
counselling service for youth.
The RBC poll showed that while parents generally agree that
the biggest issue facing children with mental illness is not
stigma but access to information and services, most still
believe that the stigma is significant enough to warrant a
way to access information on the subject anonymously.
"Kids Help Phone is available to all young people in
Canada, no matter the situation, question or concern, online,
by phone and, in a limited pilot service, by live chat on
computers and smartphones," added Wood. "Kids turn
to us because they know we don't ask for their name, we don't
trace calls or IP addresses. They can say whatever is on their
mind, we won't judge and we'll always help them find a solution
that works for them."
RBC Foundation's $1 million investment in Kids Help Phone
is the largest gift ever by the Foundation in support of child
and youth mental health in Canada. RBC Foundation's support
represents an early, important contribution to the new funding
necessary to build live chat counselling to a full national
service, available free of charge to young people in distress
anywhere in Canada.
About Kids Help Phone
Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has been Canada's leading online
and phone counselling service for youth. It's free, it's anonymous
and confidential, and it's available any time of the day or
night, 365 days a year in English and in French. Professional
counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young
people, ages five to 20, by providing one-on-one counselling,
information and resources. As a community-based national charity,
Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding and relies
on community and corporate support to fund its essential and
Like us on Facebook.com/kidshelpphone
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@kidshelpphone | Watch us on YouTube.com/kidshelpphone
About the RBC Children's Mental Health Parents Poll
The RBC Children's Mental Health Parents Poll was completed
online from July 19 to August 3, 2012 using Leger Marketing's
online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 2,568 Canadian parents
with at least one child under the age of 18. A probability
sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±1.93
per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Kids Help Phone commissioned a companion poll to the 2012
RBC Children's Mental Health Parents Poll asking 115 youth
visiting the Kids Help Phone website, who they have or would
speak to about their mental health concerns.
About the RBC Children's Mental Health Project
The RBC Children's Mental Health Project is a multi-year philanthropic
commitment to programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention
and increase public awareness about children's mental health
issues. The RBC Children's Mental Health Project is our cornerstone
'health and wellness' donations program, and since 2008, we
have donated over $12 million to more than 200 community-based
and hospital programs across Canada. Sharon Wood and Dr. Ian
Manion are advisors to the RBC Children's Mental Health Project.
For more information, visit rbc.com/childrensmentalhealth.
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For more information please contact:
André C. Roberts,
RBC Corporate Communications,
Guillotte, Director of Communications - Kids Help Phone,