In light of current events around COVID-19, Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) is hosting a special Twitter Chat on Tuesday, March 24, at 8 PM.

This chat is aimed especially at parents and caregivers to children with mental health issues. 

This Twitter Chat is an opportunity for parents and caregivers to come together and share their experiences. CMHO, it's member agencies and hosts, will not be providing any clinical mental health services during the chat. Any tweets that indicate a risk of harm will be reported immediately through the Twitter platform.

Tweets by CMHO or co-hosts are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from mental health professionals. We ask that any information shared during the chat be from vetted and reputable sources including qualified mental health professionals. 

To find a Children's Mental Health Centre near you, click here. If you are in a crisis, please call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

While these are extraordinary circumstances for all families, we recognize that the current situation – overwhelming news cycles and social media updates, social distancing, disruptions in school and play schedules, and the threat of illness – can be especially challenging for children with mental illness and their families.

 

The purpose of this chat is to:

  • Create an opportunity for parents of children with mental health issues to come together and share their experiences, as well as share resources, tips, etc., for supporting their family
  • Share credible resources and information to support parents help their children
  • Demonstrate the important role of community child and youth mental health in supporting kids and families in the current crisis

 

Our hosts for this chat are:

  • Kim Moran, CMHO CEO
  • Ann Douglas,  leading Canadian Parenting Author
  • Dr. Javeed Sukhera, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
  • Laurie McCann, Police Officer, and mental health advocate
  • Dr. Catherine Horvath, Psychologist and Executive Director of Ottawa Centre for Resilience.

You'll see we are collaborating with partners at the Ontario Psychiatry Association and the Ontario Psychological Association on the Twitter Chat. We hope you can join us.

 

These are the questions for the chat (please note they are subject to change)

  1. What strategies are you and your family using to cope during this extraordinary time?
  2. What are the biggest challenges you are facing on a day-to-day basis?
  3. Who are you turning to for support and what methods are you using to access that support, given that we’re being advised to avoid face-to-face contact as much as possible?
  4. What strengths are you noticing in yourself or other family members?
  5. What message of support and encouragement would you like to offer to other families who are having a really tough time?

 

Here are tips for participating:

  • Prepare ahead of time! We have given you the questions so that you can prepare responses ahead of time. Please add links to your site when necessary.
  • Always use the hashtag #kidscantwait to ensure your messages appear in the thread
  • As soon as you see the question posted from @kidsmentalhlth, jump right in with your responses. When answering, refer to the question number, ie:
    • Q1) What supports in your community have helped you and your family?
    • A1) XYZ answer with #kidscantwait
  • Also, look for opportunities to engage with others participating. A simple follow back, a RT or a like will go a long way.
  • Be sure to share the invitation and let others in your community know about the chat. All are welcome!

 

Children's Mental Health Ontario agencies are open and providing support via phone and virtually. To find a Children's Mental Health Centre near you, click here