When a child has cancer or another physical illness, friends bake casseroles and offer support. When a child has difficulties with mental health, people stop calling…and cast judgment. If we’re going to talk to one another about solving
the biggest pediatric health problem in Canada, we need to be speaking the same language.
Recognizing the need for change, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is supporting three important initiatives to improve the overall understanding of pediatric mental health in our community, beginning in schools and doctors’
- Mental Health Online Resources for Educators - a free, web-based training tool which offers a variety of modules on mental health topics for teachers.
- Teaching Teens - a ground-breaking program that embeds mental health literacy into the curriculum of grade 9 and 10 students across Calgary. The program is providing training that helps students distinguish between mental health
problems, distress and disorders and how to access support and resources. It incorporates mental health into everyday classroom discussion, reducing the tendency to sensationalize and ostracize those who are affected.
- Physician education - a six-month long Pediatric Psychopharmacology Mini-Fellowship is now offered to empower pediatricians and family physicians in our community to better identify and initiate mental health interventions for children
with behavioral problems and common mental health disorders.
Ultimately, the goal is to raise the level of community understanding and knowledge so that mental health concerns can be prevented or addressed, well before they escalate into full-blown crises.