Part of my role as a Mental Health Liaison Nurse is to help students recognize and deal with stress. Once we’ve recognized they’re under stress, we try to figure out where it comes from. Sometimes, we trace it right back home. Parents’ own stress level combined with unrealistic expectations and pressures can leave a child unable to cope in these situations. Some students we work with (yes, even as early as Grade 6) are so focussed on their grades, they think one low mark will keep them out of university!
This week is National Mental Health Week. Have you thought about your own or your children’s mental health? And what about your own and your children’s stress levels?
Stress is inevitable, and how we deal with it can have a huge effect on our well-being. Recognizing and taking action when stress becomes unmanageable is one of the first steps preventing it from gaining control of you.
- Do you smile or laugh less than you used to?
- Are you having trouble falling asleep at night, or having restless sleep?
- Are you spending less time doing things you enjoy (e.g., time alone from family and friends; less time for exercise and relaxation)?
- Are you over indulging in food, alcohol, or drugs to help cope with stressful situations?
- Do you feel like your emotions are boiling over and life is out of control?
If any of these sound familiar, or you see them in your kids, it might be time to get help. Sometimes stress can be dealt with by using basic strategies to help eliminate it or decrease it to a manageable level. These can include:
- Getting proper sleep
- Maintaining well-balanced nutrition
- Getting regular exercise
- Organizing or delegating work responsibilities
- Deep breathing and relaxation techniques
Unfortunately, if the stress is great enough or goes on too long, it can lead to more serious mental health issues. Stress at home or school can be very difficult for those dealing with anxiety and\or depression. If you feel you may be experiencing these or any other mental health related issues there is help.
Start with your family doctor to explore different options on how to deal with the issue. Your doctor may talk to you about possible referrals to other mental health resources.
Did you know Halton Region provides youth mental health support in schools and support for adults in the North Halton community through the North Halton Mental Health Clinic? If you ever need help during a crisis, you can contact Halton’s Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST) at 1-877-825-9011.
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