Health department encourages mental health support for youth

The Durham Region Health Department is encouraging parents and caregivers to support their teens and young adults in taking care of their mental health to help reduce the risk of their children developing a mental health or substance use concern.

According to a recent 2018 report from Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, drugs such as cannabis and alcohol can have a negative impact on the developing brain and can lead to health problems. The report also indicates that frequent cannabis use during teen years can increase the risk for substance use disorders or mental health problems later in life.

While the reasons youth may choose to use substances are complex and there is no single cause or solution for substance use, parents and caregivers can provide support, guidance and encourage healthy coping strategies. Healthy coping may include activities such as structured sports, yoga, deep breathing, walking, journaling, arts and crafts or several other beneficial activities. Parents should also be a healthy role model themselves by practicing healthy coping strategies with their families.

Other ways to help teens build healthy coping mechanisms include creating positive relationships with supportive peers, caring adults both inside and outside the family, and safe, accepting schools and communities.

To find more information on mental health and healthy coping, visit

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