The first step to understanding positive mental health is to look at how we view "mental health". When people think of mental health they often make associations with symptoms, challenges and illness, reducing our ability to see the whole picture of mental health.
Consider the way "physical health" is understood. Although we are all aware that people experience various physical illnesses during their lifetime, ranging from mild and brief to more severe and enduring, we do not see these symptoms, challenges and illnesses as defining physical health. We equate physical health as an overall experience of physical wellness.
Good health includes both physical and mental health!
Often, mental health awareness campaigns focus solely on mental illness. Understanding mental illnesses and reducing the stigma of living with mental illness is very important. Understanding the broader concept of mental health and how to improve and support positive mental health enables us to provide early intervention for individuals who have not developed a mental illness as well as support individuals living with mental illness to access resources for recovery sooner. People living with mental illness can experience positive mental health.
Everyone has periods of time when they are not experiencing optimal mental health (as all people experience periods of time when they do not have optimum physical health). It is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadian youth suffer from a mental health issue. The DDSB has identified five links of influence for positive mental health in the Mental Health and Addictions Strategic Plan.
* Building Resiliency
* Breaking Down the Stigma
* Building Skills and Knowledge
* Engaging Parent/Guardians and Families
* Working Collaboratively with Community Partners
Early recognition of mental health problems and connection with helpful resources is important. If you are concerned about your child's mental health or if you are a student who is concerned about your own mental health, you can talk to a Guidance Counsellor at Henry Street High School. Supportive school-based strategies, referrals to our Board mental health professionals and information about community mental health providers can be offered through our Guidance department. Promotion of positive mental health and development of social and emotional learning strategies is an ongoing focus for the DDSB.
Information on community based mental health services for children and youth can be accessed through:
Durham Central Intake : 1-888-454-6275 and ConnexOntario:
If you need immediate assistance for a mental health concern, please contact:
- your family doctor
- Durham Mental Health Mobile Crisis (905) 666-0483 or 1-800-742-1890
- Kids Help Phone - 1-800-668-6868 - www.kidshelpphone.ca
- Carea Community Health Centre (905)-723-0036 or www.careachc.ca