can you talk to?
often try to deal with emotional problems themselves, but usually
it isn’t enough. Talking to other people you trust can give
you a different perspective on your situation. They might have some
ideas you hadn’t thought of, or it may just be helpful talking
to someone who understands what you’re going through.
Often members of your family are the ones who
can help you the most, in terms of getting things sorted out and
getting better. Don’t forget to talk to your parents about
what’s going on with you.
do your family members want you to know?
You can talk to us!
We need to know what going on with you. Even
though you may sometimes feel like withdrawing into your room and
not talking to us, we love you and want to help you get through
the difficulties you’re having. We can’t help if we
don’t know what’s going on.
Let us help
When you’re experiencing the pain
and suffering that mental health problems can bring, you’ll
need the help and support of those around you to keep you going
and help you succeed. Let us be your partners in dealing with your
problems, and in talking to school staff and mental health professionals.
You can’t do it alone.
Don’t lose hope
When you are in the middle of a mental
health crisis, things may seem very dark and bleak. Try not to forget
that things will get better, and you will feel like your old self
again, with some help and patience. It may be hard for us too sometimes,
but we’ll do our best to always be there to support and reassure
For most teens going through high school, friends
are just as important as grades. Friends and peers are an especially
important source of support when you’re going through tough
At the same time, you may find that you lose touch
with some of your friends when you’re dealing with your mental
health problems. This can happen for several reasons - either because
you’ve isolated yourself, or because they are scared away
by the stigma or discomfort that people sometimes have about mental
health problems and mental illness.
While friends can be helpful, and a good source of support, talking
with them doesn’t replace talking with your parents or other
adults, like a doctor, teacher or guidance counsellor, who can help
you get the professional help you need.
can you help a friend?
you are worried about a friend, it’s important to be supportive
and to say things like ”I am very concerned about you. You
are saying things that I am really worried about, and we need
to tell someone”. You need to let an adult, like a parent,
teacher, or counsellor, know what’s going on. Don’t
promise to keep secrets, especially if your friend is talking
about suicide. As a friend, you must tell an adult so that they
can get help right away.
to accompany your friend to talk with an adult they can trust.
your friend know that you care, and that you haven’t forgotten
about them, even if they repeatedly try to put you off. Stay in
touch and reach out to them.
by your friend during their recovery. Reinforce your positive
feelings about them, and your confidence in their continued recovery.
ways of having fun together that don’t involve using drugs
to go to support groups or important meetings (such as with teachers,
counsellors or doctors) with your friend, and to be another set
of eyes and ears in meetings.
Teachers, Guidance Counsellors
and even people like the Vice Principal or Principal can be great
people to talk to about what you’re going through.
There are a lot of tools and resources within the school and the school
system that they can arrange to help you deal with your problems at
school and get the help you need.
do school staff want you to know?
Keep us in the loop
It’s our job to help you successfully complete high school
and make the transition to post-secondary school or work. Remember
that there are many resources within the school system (including
special educators, psychologists and social workers) that we can
access to support you and help meet your needs. School staff also
have wide networks with youth and other community-based social services
that we can draw on to help support you.
Tell us what you need
Don’t be afraid to tell us about the kinds of supports and
special accommodations that will make it easier for you to get through
high school while dealing with your mental health problems. Remember
that you can get special help in the classroom, with homework and
assignments, as well as tests and exams.
Take your time
Lots of students take longer than 4 years to complete all their
high school credits, not just students with mental health problems.
Consider taking fewer courses, or limiting your homework-heavy courses.
We can help you find a balance between your courses and extra-curricular
activities that works for you.
If you have talked with your family, friends, teacher,
school guidance counsellor, or whomever you trust with your feelings,
and you still don’t feel right, you might want to make an
appointment with your family doctor.
Family doctors are not experts on mental illness in particular,
but they are often a good place to start, and can act as the stepping
stone to getting further help.
By talking things through with your family doctor, you will get
the ball rolling on getting more specialized help, like from a psychiatrist
Your family doctor may also be able to put you in touch with a support
does your doctor want you to know?
Be open and honest
Please tell us as much as you can about your experiences and feelings.
We want to help you understand what is going on, and help you get
better. It’s important that we have a clear picture of your
use of drugs and alcohol, as it can affect your symptoms, treatment
Treat us as partners
Try to view your relationship with us as a partnership. Along with
you and the members of your family, we’re working as a team
toward finding treatments and approaches that work for you and help
Keep us informed
Let us know if your symptoms are getting worse, or if you’re
experiencing some of the unwanted effects of medications you are
taking. We can work together to find a therapy that does work for