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How to cope with long wait-times for child and youth mental health services

May 8, 2014

One in five children and youth has a mental health condition; yet, fewer than 25 percent receive treatment. Additionally, it can take several months to obtain an appointment with a mental health professional, which can be extremely frustrating for everyone involved.

The Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario recently released a brochure to help parents cope with the long wait times for mental health services. Suggestions include:

  1. Keep your mental health service provider informed about your child’s mental health status, especially if it is worsening, and explore local support services.
  2. Understand everything that you can about mental health issues and available services, such as Kids Help Phone. CMHA branches also offer services to support children and youth with mental health conditions.
  3. Document events, situations, behaviours and concerns that you wish to share with your service provider, so that you can remember them during your appointment.
  4. Support your children through spending quality time with them, listening to them and being patient with them, since their behaviours reflect their mental health.
  5. Help your children cope with stress through relaxation, problem-solving and physical activity.
  6. Practice self-care by reaching out to family and friends for support.

For more details, read the brochure, “What parents can do while waiting for mental health services”.

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