Dr. Ruben Gagarin, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at SHN and former Head of SHN’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program, sat down with us to give some tips on how we can take care of our mental health this fall. SHN’s child and youth psychiatry program uses a holistic approach to treat our youngest patients and work with their families to support them. The team is interdisciplinary including physicians, registered nurses, child and youth workers and social workers. They work as a group to support their patients, families and each other.

Dr. Gagarin recommends focusing on the four pillars of health when getting kids – and parents! – ready for back to school. This includes focusing on sleeping, eating, movement, and relaxation to ensure mental and physical health is top of mind.

He also outlines some warning signs to watch out for to ensure your child’s mental well-being and how you can encourage a healthy dialogue about mental health.

If you or your child need resources for mental health, check out the following:

  • Ask your family doctor when the warning signs arise
  • See if your child’s school has any resources or supports
  • If you have health insurance or benefits through work, you may have coverage for professional assistance or an employee and family assistance program free of charge
  • Look into local community clinics such as Strides Toronto or Youth Link
  • There are a number of legitimate resources online to guide young people on how to manage mental health challenges