Child & Youth Mental Health COVID-19 Resources

For Parents/Caregivers

Children and youth look to adults to navigate the world. In the present situation, parents and caregivers can be good role models by taking good care of themselves, physically and mentally.

Ways to support children and youth:

  • Talk to your child or youth calmly about COVID-19, ask how they are feeling, and listen to their response
  • Maintain routines as much as possible to support a sense of “normal”
  • Be flexible and acknowledge we all will have to find different ways to use our time
  •  Increase play time, inside and out, keeping physical distance from other children
  • Encourage and support good nutrition and sleep schedules 
  • Take a break from the news; monitor and limit media about COVID-19

Common Changes

Not all children and youth respond to stress in the same way. During this time, you should expect to see some changes in behaviour. Being present, patient and supportive is important.

Common changes include:

  • Crying and irritability
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Difficulty with memory, attention and concentration
  • Avoiding activities that they enjoyed in the past

Common changes typically in younger children:

  • “Acting out” (such as anger, aggression and breaking rules)
  • Returning to old behaviours (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)

Common changes typically in youth:

  • Unexplained headaches or body pain (without additional medical signs of COVID-19)
  • Using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
  • Stress associated with not being able to hang out with their peer group
  • Disconnection to culture and community

See the helpful resources on the right side of this page for more information.

When to Seek Additional Support

Knowing the difference between symptoms of mental illness and expected changes may be difficult but listen to your instincts as you know your child or youth best.

Common signs of when to seek additional support:

  • showing signs that they’re having trouble coping
  • lacking energy or motivation
  • increased risk-taking behaviour
  • feeling very down
  • deliberately hurting themselves or talking of suicide
  • obsessed with their weight
  • worrying constantly

If your child or youth is showing one of more of these changes, the best thing to do is talk to them about how they are feeling. Keep in mind that all talk of suicide must be taken seriously, and if you are worried about your child or youth you can call your closest Child and Youth Mental Health clinic during office hours Monday to Friday.