Mental Health and Well-being Families » Frequently Asked Questions for Families

Frequently Asked Questions for Families

What is a mental health crisis?

A crisis is any situation in which the child's behaviors puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others and/or when the parent isn't able to resolve the situation with the skills and resources available.
If you are worried that your child is in crisis or nearing a crisis, seek help. Assess the situation before deciding whom to call.
Most importantly – safety first!
Is your child in danger of hurting themselves, others or property? Bring them to the nearest emergency department, your family physician or call North Eastern Ontario Family and Children's Services at 705-360-7100.

Do you need emergency assistance? Is safety a concern? Call 911.

Do you have time to start with a phone call for guidance and support from a mental health professionals or crisis team? These support services can help.

Where do I start?  My child needs help but is not in crisis. 

The easiest way to get started is to see your family doctor. If you don't have a family doctor, go to a walk-in clinic. You can also go to a counseling agency such as North Eastern Ontario Family and Children's Services.  To see a psychiatrist, you will need a referral from your family doctor.  To learn more visit Family Care Centre Resources.

Should I reach out for help or is my child experiencing normal stress?

Ask yourself the next few questions...
  • Have they been feeling this way for a prolonged period of time?
  • Is how they are feeling affecting their everyday life in a negative way?
  • Are they dealing with their problems in unhealthy ways?
If you answered yes to these questions or are unsure, you should consider talking to someone.  You can speak to the principal or guidance teacher who can then connect your child to a Social Worker or Child and Youth Worker at the school. 

How do I talk to my child about mental health?

Parents play an important role in the positive development of their children's mental health. Parents are encouraged to watch these videos to learn how they can talk about mental health with their child or teen. 

How do I talk to my child about alcohol and drugs?

You may feel like your teen is tuning you out but, the truth is, they're listening more than you think! In fact, parents have been shown to have an important and growing influence when it comes to teens' use of alcohol and other drugs.   When it comes to alcohol and other drug use, having a teen who talks to you can make a world of difference.  Learn how to prepare your teen to make good decisions.

Where can I learn more about mental health?

Mental Health is defined as a state of well-being in which every person is able to realize their own potential, is able to cope with stressors of daily life, and is able to engage and contribute to the overall community (World Health Organization, 2018). Learn more at:

Are there any support groups for family members taking care of children with Mental Health needs?

Parents for Children's Mental Health (PCMH) is dedicated to improving the lives of families and the services for child and youth mental health.  PCMH links families to important networks within their communities to ensure they get the care they need and the support of families who can relate and support them. Learn more at:

How do I communicate my child's Mental Health needs to their teacher(s)?

If your child's mental health condition is affecting their functioning at school, your first step should be to identify their condition with your family physician or a mental health professional.  You can then present the diagnostic information to the school.  With younger children (Kindergarten to Grade 5), it may make sense to start with your child's classroom teacher while with middle or high school students, it's usually best to start with the school's principal or vice-principal.
It is not unusual to be nervous about meeting with school officials when your child is having behavioural or emotional problems.  Be as honest, direct and specific as possible and ask questions about what teachers are seeing at school.  Don't assume the behaviour will be the same at school as it is at home. Our teachers will work collaboratively with you to accommodate, include and support your child.  

What is my child's school doing to support their mental health?

Everyday educators select from a variety of practices to enhance classroom conditions and build social emotional skills in ways that best meet the needs of their students.  As a foundational cornerstone of their work they use their professional judgement to understand the context of their classroom and students to maximize the growth of student in their care. In addition to this, research-based social and emotional programs are delivered class-wide.  These teach essential core competencies including self-management, self-awareness, responsible decision making, relationship skills and social awareness.

What can I do to promote my child's mental health and well-being?

Parent resources are available to support the social and emotional programs being delivered in our schools.  Information is available at: