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Who Is This Guide For?

 

Almost 1 in 5 children in Ontario between the ages of 3 and 17 have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Of these approximately 500,000 children, 3/5 or about 300,000 of them have more than one disorder. (Source: Children’s Mental Health Ontario)

As parents supporting parents, Parents for Children’s Mental health (PCMH-see below) recognized that Children’s Mental Health is one of the least talked about and most common childhood problems today. In our vastly varied experiences we have found that one of the most common problems families face raising a child with a mental disorder is the lack of information available for those seeking services and resources in the community.

Another common issue is the lack of support in the community whether it is due to ignorance, intolerance or disbelief.  It is our sincere hope that parents, educators and caregivers will benefit from this combined collection of Children’s Mental Health information, services and supports available to you and your family in the Waterloo Region.  It is the goal of this guide to share with parents some information to enable them to find the answers and assistance they so desperately need.  Who is this guide for?As parents supporting parents, Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH – see below) recognizes that Children’s Mental Health is one of the least talked about and most common childhood problems today.  In our vastly varied experiences we have found that one of the most common problems families face raising a child with a mental disorder is the lack of information available for those seeking services and resources in the community.

  • Parents/caregivers who are struggling with their child’s behaviour at home or school
  • Parents/caregivers seeking emotional and/or financial support
  • Parents seeking advice regarding school concerns
  • Parents who suspect something is the matter, but don’t know where to start
  • Parents/caregivers not sure what mental illness means, or how to go about getting help
  • Parents/caregivers seeking to support or advocate for their special needs child

What Is Parents For Children’s Mental Health (PCMH)?

Parents for Children’s Mental Health or PCMH (as it will be referred to in this book) is a voluntary group of parents who have used, or are currently using, the mental health services of Ontario.  Members are dedicated to helping families and improving mental health services in the province.  Since 2005, kidsLINK has supported parents operating a local chapter of Parents for Children’s Mental Health.  For more information about PCMH, please visit the national website at www.pcmh.ca or our local chapter at www.PCMHwaterloo.com  In the Waterloo region, please contact the local parent support group by e-mail at parent.advocacy@hotmail.com or by phone at 519-749-8740 Ext. 212.

What Is Mental Illness?

Mental illness and mental disorder are not easy to define.  Misunderstandings lead to misuse and abuse of the terms, reinforce myths, and even prevent people from getting help when it is really needed.

In general, mental illness refers to clinically significant patterns of behavioural or emotional functioning that are associated with some level of distress, suffering (pain, death), or impairment in one or more areas of functioning (such as school, work, or social and family interactions).  The basis of this impairment is a behavioural, psychological, or biological dysfunction, or a combination of these.