Learn about family associations and support services for families and caregivers of children and youth experiencing mental health issues.
Support for caregivers and families
When a child faces mental health issues, it can be very challenging for a family to cope. But there are organizations that offer help. Many have been started by parents and caregivers who have faced this same experience themselves and recognize the need for information, education and emotional support.
Family support services also exist within the mental health care system, through organizations such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health or local hospitals and children’s centres.
Various organizations offer different types of support, such as access to:
- family support groups, led by peers or professionals or both
- supportive counselling, in person or by telephone
- educational workshops and seminars
- online information and opportunities
Informational and educational content tends to focus on:
- education about mental health issues
- referrals or links to other community supports
- developing self-care strategies
- advice on how to navigate the system and access necessary resources
Where to find help
Find support services close to home by searching the Ontario Health Care Options directory.
Association of Parent Support Groups in Ontario
A self-help organization of parents of disruptive, or acting-out, youth ages 10 to 30.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Free education and support groups for families of people facing a range of mental health issues.
Family Association for Mental Health Everywhere (FAME)
Individual counselling support to parents and guardians with a child up to age 16, monthly family support groups across the Greater Toronto Area, and family education and support related to first-episode psychosis.
Family Outreach and Response Program (FOR)
FOR offers a range of recovery-oriented support services for families across Toronto, including an interactive, fully facilitated, online recovery-education course, Families Healing Together (http://familieshealingtogether.com).
A volunteer organization of parents who have helped their children recover from eating disorders using an evidence-based, family-based treatment (FBT) approach to anorexia, which was developed at the Maudsley Hospital in London, UK.
Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO)
Province-wide, free support programs for individuals, and their families, living with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.
Education and support programs for parents and caregivers of people with serious mental illness in Ontario. A free, 12-week course is offered through various service agencies in 11 regions across the province.
Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH)
Public education, support groups and peer-to-peer assistance for families of young people with mental disorders.
Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO)
Information, programs and services for individuals, families and caregivers, including Strengthening Families Together, a four-week education and support group for family members and friends of individuals living with serious mental illness, as well as a unique Justice and Mental Health program supporting families of those with mental illness who come in contact with the law.