• Mental illness understanding
  • One in five
  • 70 percent solved


Building empathy and understanding
of childhood mental health



About the project

M.I. Understanding:

We are not a mental health organization. M.I.understanding ( mental illness understanding) is a communication tool designed to educate families and connect them to the resources available to support children who are experiencing mental health issues. Our Videos are designed to start a conversation. Watch as a group, as a family, or send to a friend. Early intervention is the key. Through storytelling, M.I.understanding’s goal is to help build empathy, understanding, and resiliency. Let’s start a conversation that makes everyone feel supported.

Project Overview:

M.I. understanding (mental illness understanding) is looking to change the way we think about mental health in kids. 70% of childhood mental health can be treated if caught early and yet most families are embarrassed or unaware their child needs help. Many kids suffering with mental health issues are labeled as naughty or difficult. Empathy and understanding will go a long way to helping these children develop the tools they need to deal with mental health issues as teenagers.

This project consists of a series of videos along with accompanying resources on a website channel dedicated specifically to childhood mental health. The concept is endorsed by Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program) as well as the Thames Valley District School Board (Mental Health Strategic Planning Committee).

Ask yourself, when it comes to childhood mental illness,
M.I. understanding?




Videos

Separation Anxiety:

  • Separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood
  • Children struggling with separation anxiety often complain of stomach or head aches that keep them from going to school
  • Establishing coping techniques is important

Tips and tricks:

  • Let your child know it is normal to feel anxious around transition or change
  • Sneaking away when your child doesn’t notice is not an effective exit strategy and might increase their anxiety
  • Send a note or a special toy your child can turn to for extra comfort when you are gone
  • Don’t give in- if it is important for your child to stick to the plan- stick to the plan. Every time you give in you are teaching that avoiding anxiety is an effective way of dealing with it.

Change:

  • Children pick up on their parent’s anxieties- if you are anxious about a situation, your children might feel the need to be anxious too!
  • Transition can be stressful for everyone- especially for a child who is not in control of his world yet.
  • Children need to learn to cope with their anxieties- comfort, encourage and support

Tips and tricks:

  • Prepare your child by talking about changes that are coming
  • Routines are important- an established routine leading up to a change or transition can often elevate extra stress
  • Be calm and consistent- a firm exit ritual can be reassuring

Social anxiety

  • Everybody experiences anxiety, it’s part of our ability to survive danger
  • It has nothing to do with strength, or courage, or character
  • Anxiety becomes a problem when it starts to affect a child’s quality of life

Tips and tricks:

  • Listen. Listen to their thoughts and feelings- respect their fear is real
  • Telling you child to stop worrying is not going to work
  • Remind them they are not alone
  • Don’t avoid situations that cause anxiety- anxiety has a way of growing when we give in to it. Keep trying scary situations.
  • Don’t give up

Thank you to Angus Puppets for bringing Emmet and Gulliver to life!

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Community of Support

M.I understanding is taking their philosophy of everyone working together to support families by Creating Communities of Support

The idea of this event is to provide parents with basic information on some common areas where children struggle; bedtime, setting limits, separation anxiety, managing worries. Different stations with general information, tips and tricks from parents and experts as well as resources will provide families with a starting point to overcoming common challenges.

Parents, teachers, and professionals will be on hand to provide real life resources. Some challenges are not solved overnight. Teaching a child to cope often takes time and patience. Talking with parents who have been there and getting support from teachers and professionals can give parents the courage to keep trying.

Little children have little problems, but teaching them to cope, supporting them and providing them with the tools they need to overcome these challenges will help them when they encounter bigger problems as they get older.

A lot of parents feel these little challenges are a result of bad parenting, so they suffer in silence or try and fix them on their own. There is strength in numbers. Reaching out for support, working with teachers, talking with other parents who have been there can provide families with the resources they need.

Creating a community of support where families, schools, communities and professionals work together helps build resiliency in our families.

It all starts with understanding.

 


Information and support on:

  • Picky eaters
  • Separation anxiety and change
  • How to manage worry
  • Setting social media limits
  • Importance of play
  • Setting limits
  • Get moving
  • Bedtime routines

Thanks to our sponsor

Kids-Mental-Health-OPT

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Previous Events:


Thursday, April 14
6:00- 7:30pm (free admission)
Woodland Heights Public School


March 3, 2016
5:30- 7:30pm (free admission)
Victoria Public School


Thursday, February 25
6:00- 8:30pm (free admission)
Family Night at Wortley Road PS


Saturday February 27
9:00- 11:30am (free admission)
South London Community Centre


Friday, January 29
5:00- 8:00pm (free admission)
The London Children’s Museum


Friday, October 2
5:00- 8:00pm (free admission)
The London Children’s Museum

 




M.I.understanding Parent Support Program

Parents struggle when their child is having difficulty at school- especially when it comes to mental health. Anxiety is becoming more and more prevalent in the classroom and children can demonstrate symptoms in many different ways:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Not following directions
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Shyness
  • Taking too long to complete a task

To effectively support your child, you and your child’s teacher need to have a strong team approach to solving the problem.


M.I.understanding Parent Support Program can help by:

  • Interpreting what the school is communicating re your child and their behavior. Neither party sees the whole picture- your child might be different in both settings.
  • Help parents prepare for school meetings. It’s hard to discuss your child’s home struggles without feeling like a bad parent. The more you educate your child’s teacher on what you see, the more you will have the school on your team.
  • Joining parents for school meetings to support the family and help find unique solutions to best meet the needs of their child.

M.I.understanding parenting support program can help families work collaboratively with their child’s school and teacher.

For more information: info@miunderstanding.ca




Resources

“What do you do when you Worry too much” – by Dawn Huebner

Available at Amazon.ca, Chapters Indigo

 

“Keys to Parenting your Anxious Child” – by Katharina Manassis

Available at Amazon.ca, Chapters Indigo, Public Library

 

“Helping your Anxious Child”– by Ronald Rapee

Available at Amazon.ca, Public Library


Websites

Anxiety BC

Caring for Kids

Hey Sigmund

Child Mind Institute




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