The pandemic has been tough on everyone, from children to parents and seniors. Stress and depression have increased, with the journal Canadian Psychology reporting that nearly one-third of Canadians say they suffer from a high level of anxiety, a rate four times greater than it was before the onset of the pandemic.
Teens and youth worldwide have been particularly vulnerable to the disruptions of the past two years, with many feeling the effects on their education, social connections, and well-being during a crucial stage of their development. Recognizing that teens’ distress can often be a source of anxiety for their families, the Fondation Jeunes en Tête has launched an awareness campaign aimed at parents and those around teenagers. Under the theme Unravel what’s going on in the minds of your teenagers, the campaign aims to help parents through its “family toolkit” and better equip them to support psychological distress in young people.
Parents need support
While the pandemic has been difficult for young people, it’s also been hard on their families. Parents suddenly working from home, strained finances, online schooling, and work-family balance weighed heavily on relationships. This demanding context has blurred the lines of communication between many parents and children.
The foundation collaborated with experts including psychiatrists, psychologists, university researchers and educators to create this resource for parents to help them better communicate with their teenagers. Mélanie Boucher, executive director of the Fondation, says it’s more important than ever for parents to be able to talk to their children about mental health. To support parents, the new resource provides practical tips to support teens (videos and personal stories), explains how to recognize psychological distress, and where to find help.
Declining mental health
Over the past two years, teenagers have expressed feelings of loneliness, sadness, demotivation, and the negative effects of the disruption in their daily routine. More and more teenagers are showing worrying signs of generalized anxiety or major depression. According to Statistics Canada, youth are at higher risk of experiencing poor mental health (compared to other age groups) during the pandemic. And although youth’s psychological distress has been made worse by the pandemic, an upward trend existed even before 2020, alerting professionals and parents that our youth need help.
The toolkit for parents is free and available online here: www.fondationjeunesentete.org/trousse-familles.
About the Foundation
For more than 20 years, the Fondation Jeunes en Tête has had the mission to prevent psychological distress of young people aged 11 to 18 in Quebec. Since its creation, the Fondation has met more than 1.2 million young people in Quebec secondary schools through its awareness workshops, and meets approximately 50,000 teenagers annually.
You can read more about their work in high schools and support for young people, their parents, families, and school staff at fondationjeunesentete.org.