“Observed on May 7 each year, National Child and Youth Mental Health Day is a reminder of the powerful impact each and every one of us can have on the young people in our lives.

“Through meaningful conversations and connections, caring adults can support children and youth as they process feelings and emotions and learn to navigate the complex world we live in. This is especially important now, as we all work to adapt to a changing environment during the pandemic.

“The past year has been anything but normal for young people. COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of their lives – from home life to school and learning, to sports and hobbies, to interactions with friends and family. We understand these changes have not been easy but we are committed to closely monitoring and learning the impact the pandemic has had on each unique demographic, including children and youth, so that we can better support those in need.  

“Help is available. Early in the pandemic, Alberta’s government provided funding to enhance addiction and mental health supports, including additional funding to Kids Help Phone. Kids can call 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868 to connect with a professional counsellor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hundreds of young people from across Canada call or text Kids Help Phone every day, and we’re encouraged to see that the majority report feeling better after reaching out.

“Today, we are talking about child and youth mental wellness because we all have a part to play when it comes to the health and well-being of our youth. Resources such as information for caregivers, families and professionals on supporting children and youth with mental health concerns are available. We encourage everyone to talk about mental health with those closest to you. You never know what someone is going through, and something that seems simple – such as letting someone know you are in their corner – can have drastic and lasting impacts.

We encourage you to visit alberta.ca/childrens-mental-health.aspx to learn more.

“This National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, spread the message of #icare. Let the kids in your life know you are there for them and that mental health services and supports are available if they need help.”