Mayor Nancy Peckford hosted a virtual mental health forum to help parents address the pressures that result in families because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The forum featured local resource people including; Cheryl Gaumont of Children’s Mental Health Leeds Grenville, Diane Oxborough of Parents Lifeline Eastern Ontario, Kim Champagne of Juniper Counselling and Chuck Leblanc of the Kemptville Stress Relief Centre.
Issues of children’s mental health were the topic of discussion, and there was a focus on showcasing the supports and resources that are available to provide support to children and parents.
The forum invited the submission of questions from viewers, who were able to submit questions anonymously. Hard topics such as youth suicide, drug abuse, and self-harm were discussed.
Because of the pandemic, and the lockdown, and the disruptions in daily life, there is concern for protecting the mental health of children and parents in these stressful times.
The response to the stressors caused by the pandemic could manifest in a number of ways in children, and could include behavioural changes, anxiety, difficulty in adjusting, fear of loss, grief, irritability, agitation.
The care-givers reminded parents that behaviour is communication, and to remember that these expressions are indicators that the child may be having a difficult time.
The service providers reminded viewers that practising self-care is important, as well as trying to maintain a regular household routine that includes regular sleep and wake times, adequate nutrition, and physical exercise, as these are all important foundations to dealing with stress. The forum is available online on Youtube. Community Mental Health Forum – April 22, 2021