Have that Talk: mental health video campaign

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Ottawa Public Health’s “have THAT talk” mental health video campaign was created to give parents more information about mental health. The videos aim to give parents the knowledge and resources they need to talk about mental health with their child or teen. The program was launched on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 28, 2014.

Mental health problems affect 1 in 5 Canadians. Also, 75% of all of these problems start before the age of 24 years. Parents are encouraged to watch these videos to learn how they can have that talk about mental health with their child or teen. Please share these videos through Facebook, Twitter, or email. By talking about mental health openly, you can help your child become a healthy and resilient adult.

Part 1: Mental Health and My Teen
Part 2: Teaching My Teen How to Cope
Part 3: How to Have That Talk
Part 4: What Every Parent Should Know About Depression and Suicide
Promotional Trailer

Part 1: Mental Health and My Teen 

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To view each question from part 1 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 1: Mental Health and My Teen : Transcript 

Part 2: Teaching My Teen How to Cope 

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To view each question from part 2 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 2: Teaching My Teen How to Cope: Transcript 

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Part 3: How to Have That Talk 

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To view each question from part 3 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 3: How to Have That Talk: Transcript 

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Part 4: What Every Parent Should Know About Depression and Suicide 

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To view each question from part 4 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 4: What Every Parent Should Know About Depression and Suicide: Transcript 

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Transcript: Promotional Trailer 

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Transcripts

Part 1: Mental Health and My Teen

Hi, my name is Kym MacAulay and I’m a Public Health Nurse with Ottawa Public Health.  As parents we may have questions about our child’s behaviour.  Well, today I hope to answer some of those questions for you.

What physical, emotional and behavioural changes can I expect from my teen?

 So, during adolescence, the ages between eleven and eighteen, your child goes through many physical and emotional changes.  Things such as height, weight; lots of body changes happen during that age.  As well, they do experience a lot of emotional changes and that’s mostly due to hormones.  So, sometimes your child might be very happy one minute; sad or angry the next and this is very typical during normal adolescence. So, here we see Emma and she’s an example of a thirteen-year-old teenage girl.  She’s going through a lot of these changes that we just mentioned.  You can see from the picture that she’s dyed her hair, she has very heavy make-up and she’s looking somewhat rebellious in this picture.  These are all behaviours that can be typical of some teenagers.  She’s struggling with her sense of identity right now and can be very self-centred, and often you’ll hear your teenager say, ‘I don’t think you understand, you couldn’t possibly understand me’.   Next, we see Jamal.  Jamal is a thirteen-year-old teenage boy.  He’s looking very happy and self-confident in this picture, but inside he is struggling.  He wants very much to be accepted by his friends.  He’s feeling more pressured to fit in and he’s really worried about some of the body changes that he is experiencing.  He also may be feeling a little bit indestructible and willing to take more risks than he did in the past, for example, maybe he’s riding his bike without his helmet or possibly experimenting with alcohol or drugs. 

How do I know if my teen is in good mental health?

We say a person is in good mental health when they have the ability to contribute to their day-to-day lives, they fit in and participate in activities with their family and their community, and that they are able to deal with their day-to-day challenges.  Again, we have Emma, our thirteen-year-old girl and Emma is starting to have some behavioural changes that her parents are noticing.  She’s got changes in the friends that she hangs around with.  She doesn’t seem to be enjoying or participating in the kind of activities that she used to do in the past, and she’s less likely to want to spend time with her family.  For some children this may be typical behaviour and as a parent you may not be concerned, but if this behaviour is not typical of your child and is going on for a longer period of time, then maybe it’s time to have that talk.

When should I be concerned about my teen’s mental health?

A mental health problem is a change in how the brain works.  It has an effect on your emotions, your thinking and your actions.  So, let’s take Jamal.  Jamal is not having more challenges than he was in the past.  He is feeling that no one could possibly understand how he is feeling.  He is saying things like, ‘If I don’t hit something I think I’m going to explode.  I wish I could just stop feeling and if people knew what I was thinking they’d say I was crazy’.  Concerning statements from your youth would be things that go on for a long period of time, are very strong in emotion, are not typical behaviour that you’re used to seeing, if your child had a false belief that someone is trying to harm them; if they are seeing or hearing things that others are not; if they have a flat mood or affect, and by that we mean that they are not either showing happiness or sadness, but just very neutral all the time—no real emotion; if they express thoughts of death or if they are feeling depressed.  It’s extremely important that you get help for your child immediately by going to the hospital in the nearest emergency if your child is expressing thoughts of hurting themselves or others or says things like they want to die or just want to end it all.

Should I be embarrassed by my teen’s mental health problem?

It’s really important as a parent to remember that you are not alone.  One in five Canadians are diagnosed with mental health problems.  Mental health problems are not caused by bad parenting or by weakness or poor will-power on the part of your teen.  You know your child best.  As a parent we are very willing to get our children help when they have physical problems and we need to be equally willing to help our child when they have mental health problems.  There is good news.  If your child is diagnosed and treated early, the outcome will be very good for them and the likelihood is that they will recover from their mental health issues and lead a very full and positive life. 

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health 
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.   

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Part 2: Teaching My Teen How to Cope 

Hi, my name is Kym MacAulay and I’m a Public Health Nurse with Ottawa Public Health.  This is part two of a four-part video series, ‘Have That Talk’.  As parents we may have questions about hour child’s behaviour.  Well, today I hope to answer some of those questions for you.

How can I help my teen cope with stress?

One of the best coping mechanisms for teens or anyone to deal with stressful situations is to learn how to be resilient and Resiliency basically just means learning how to bounce back or deal with a difficult situation.  The first step to help your child or teen build their resiliency is by being there for them and letting them know that they do belong to the family and that you are there to support them.  So, doing things like having meals together as a family or just helping your teenager with their homework is a really good way to stay connected with your teen.

How can I model good problem solving skills with my teen?

One of the most important skills that we can help our teenagers learn is how to problem solve.  So, as a parent we tend to want to jump right in and help our children and solve all their problems for them.  We don’t like to see them get hurt or be upset, but in the end that’s not really doing them any favours because as they become older and turn into adults, we’re not going to always be there to solve their problems.  It’s really important that we model good behaviours with our teens and one way is to show them positive coping skills.  The best way to positively cope with a negative situation is to take emotion out of the circumstances.  So, it’s really easy to get angry and lose our temper, but only usually tends to make the situation worse.  So, for example, let’s say that Emma comes to you as a parent and says she wants to go to a friend’s place for a party that night.  Unfortunately you’re a little concerned about the party because there might be alcohol or drugs there and you tell Emma that you’re not that comfortable with that.  Emma’s response is, ‘You never let me do anything; I hate you!’  As a parent it would be really easy to get angry right now and just tell Emma to go to her room.  Unfortunately that not really a great way to solve the problem and it’s not modelling positive coping to Emma.   A better way would be to say to Emma, ‘You know, I really have some concerns about what might be going on at this party.  I’m worried about your safety, but I’m not going to talk to you about this if you’re going to yell and be rude’. 

How can I help my teen to move past difficult situations?

One of the most important things that we can learn and our teens can learn in a difficult situation is just how to be positive; how to make a positive out of a negative and we call that being optimistic or hopeful.  So, for example, let’s look back at Emma again.  Let’s say we have Emma and her friend Susan and they both tried out for the soccer team.  Unfortunately neither Emma nor Susan made the soccer team.  Susan’s reaction is to say, ‘Oh, that coach hates me; that’s why I didn’t make the team.’  On the other hand, Emma’s reaction was, ‘Oh, that’s kind of too bad.  Maybe if I take a year and practice more and get a little bigger and stronger I’ll try again next year’.  Emma has an optimistic or hopeful attitude about this situation and by thinking that way and behaving that way, Emma will be able to move on past the situation and it won’t become a problem or an issue in her life.

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health 
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.   

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Part 3: How to Have That Talk 

Hi, my name is Kym MacAulay and I’m a Public Health Nurse with Ottawa Public Health.  This is part three of our four-part video series, ‘Have that Talk’.  As parents we may have questions about our child’s behaviour.  Well, today I hope to answer some of those questions for you.

How do I start talking about mental health with my teen?

As a parent it’s really important that you continue talking with your teen.  Sometimes you might need to look for those one-on-one moments that present themselves. Maybe when you’re making dinner, while your teen is doing homework, watching tv or even going for a ride in the car.  When you’re talking with your teen it’s important to remember to use straight-forward clear, simple language.  If you use big words or talk too much your teen is going to tune out.  As well, try to stay calm.  Getting angry and emotional in a situation is not going to help.  As well, don’t be judgmental.  So, instead of judging what your teen is thinking as an adult, try to put yourself in their shoes.  It’s really important to listen.  Listening is the most important part of communicating with your teen.  Try to share their feelings and try to be understanding.  Lastly, be very aware of your body language.  Having crossed arms or maybe a stern look on your face while you’re talking to your teen might tell them that you’re not really interested in what they have to say.  Sometimes our actions speak louder than our words. 

How can I get more information from my teen about their mental health?

As a parent there are some key strategies that you can use to talk with your teen.  If you do think there is a problem, it’s important to be sure.  So, for example, let’s take Jamal.  Jamal has come home from school one day and he doesn’t look very happy.  As a parent you should say something like, ‘Jamal, you look upset to me.  Are you upset?’  If there is a problem and your teen wants to talk about it, it’s important to validate and support how they’re feeling, for example, ‘Oh, I can see how upsetting it must be for you to have had that fight with your friend.’  Finally, if they do want to do more than talk and they want some help solving the problem, walk through some problem-solving steps with your teen.

When is it important to be firm with my teen?

Conflict is a natural part of any relationship and being a parent of a teen there will definitely be some conflict.  As a parent, though, you need to pick your battles.  For issues such as health and safety you may not want to compromise, for instance, you may not be comfortable with your teenage daughter walking home alone late at night; however, do you really want to go to war with your teen over how clean their room is? 

How do I stay connected with my teen?

As your child becomes a teen you may think as a parent that they don’t need or want you to be part of their lives as much as you were in the past, but in reality teens do really need and want their parents to be involved.  So now that they are older, you may think that you just leave them at their soccer game or at their swim lesson and come back and pick them up later, but in reality it would mean a lot to your teen if you stayed and watched that soccer game or their swim class. Go to activities that they might be a part of in school or even just sit down and watch TV or a movie together.

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health 
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.   

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Part 4: What Every Parent Should Know About Depression and Suicide

Hello, my name is Michelle and I work for Youth Services Bureau.  This is part four of a four-part series on, ‘Have That Talk’.

What should I look for if I think my teen is depressed?

Teenage depression actually happens more than we think.  Experts say that one in five teens will access services unlike adults who can ask for help, so this is why it’s important as a parent of a teen or an adult who is in contact with a teen to know what some of signs and symptoms are.  There’s a lot of pressure facing teens today from the natural course of going through puberty to trying to understand who they are and where they fit in.  Teenagers express themselves in different ways.  For some teens, if they are feeling depressed, they might isolate themselves or they might feel a great sense of sadness.  Yes, those are symptoms of depression, but there are also signs to be aware of: increase in irritability, aggression and even rage,  loss of interest from the things they used to enjoy, problems as school, low self-esteem, tearfulness or frequent crying, withdrawal from friends and family, changes in eating and sleeping habits, restlessness and agitation.  There can also be a lack of enthusiasm, tired, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, reckless behaviour. 

What should I look for if I think my teen is suicidal?

Just as there are as many myths about teenage depression, there are as many about teenage suicide such as if you talk about teen suicide you’re planting the seed for teen suicide—that’s not the case.  In fact, the more you talk to you teen and you keep the lines of communication open and you are able to share your concerns, the less chances your youth is going to feel isolated and withdraw themselves.  Some signs might be: openly talking about death or dying, it could be writing about death or dying, feeling like they have nothing to look forward to in  their future, feeling like their future is bleak, there is an increase in weapons or there’s an increase of interest in weapons.  There are also other subtle signs that are very similar to depression such serious mood changes where a teen can go from feeling friendly or being friendly to being highly aggressive. If you think that your teen is at immediate risk of suicide then call 911. 

How do I have that talk about depression and suicide?

There’s actually four easy steps to do, using the acronym, TALK.  T, which is talk.  Offer support; talk to your teen and keep the lines of communication open being able to share your concerns with your teen.  A, for asking questions.  Be cautious when you’re asking the questions that you’re not asking too many at once.  At the same time, it’s okay to ask your teen, ‘Are you feeling depressed?  Do you have thoughts of suicide?’  L, listen to your teen.  Listen to them in a non-judgmental way.  What they’re feeling may not seem serious to you, but for them it can be really serious.  K, Keep at it.  Try and try again; if you’re finding that your teen isn’t answering you right away or giving you the answers that you need, continue to ask the questions, gather resources, stay connected. 

Where can I access mental health services for my teen in Ottawa?

Youth Services Bureau offers a variety of mental health services in both English and in French.  There is our crisis line, 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775 (toll free outside Ottawa), which is a 24-hour 7 day a week phone line.  There is our Youth Mental Health Walk-In Clinic, Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. 2301 Carling Ave. Ottawa, Ontario, where individuals who may not necessarily need long-term, but need immediate sessions.  We also have our intake department, www.ysb.ca/mentalhealth,  613-562-3004, which meets with families for more specialized service, so if they are looking for family counselling they would connect with their intake department.

How do I support my teen living with depression?

Supporting your teen through depression can be a very bumpy process.  At the same time it’s important to be able to celebrate those successes.  If your teen is talking, that’s a success.  If you’re still resilient, that’s a success.  So, to be able to highlight those successes and to pay attention to them.  Just as it’s important for teens to have someone to talk to, it’s equally important for parents to have someone they can talk to.  This could be reaching out to a friend, it could be reaching out to a neighbour, it could be reaching out to a colleague.  One, where you can talk about how stressful it is or how worried you are.  Being a parent of a teen can also carry a sense of guilt; it’s important for self-care to be able to share what it is you are feeling; that’s really going to be what’s going to keep you going for the next day to be able to support your teen the way that you want to.  

Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa
Walk-in Clinic: Tuesdays and Thursdays – Noon to 8 PM
2301 Carling Avenue
24/7 Crisis Line: 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775
(toll free outside Ottawa)
www.ysb.ca/mentalhealth
613-562-3004

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.

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Promotional Trailer

Julie? Julie? Julie. Parents: Talk to your teen about mental health. Visit haveTHATtalk.com to find out how YOU can have THAT talk with your teen.  

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