More than 500 wildfires continue to burn across BC, and have forced thousands of individuals and families from their homes and communities. BC Children's Hospital is reminding families to make their mental health and wellness a priority, as children and youth could be experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
While many children and youth are resilient and will overcome these feelings, some may need extra support to cope. BC Children’s has helpful tips on how families can ease anxiety and stress during this difficult time:
- Maintain a routine as best as you can – try to keep regular meal times and healthy sleep schedules.
- Participate in activities as a family – enjoying time together as a family can help children cope.
- Have thoughtful discussions about the situation – give your children an opportunity to talk about their experiences and help them identify their feelings.
- Show your children love, trust and support.
There are also excellent tools and resources available to help young people and their families:
- Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: A provincial resource centre that provides mental health and substance use information, resources, and peer support to children, youth and their families from across BC.
- Breathr Mindfulness App: An app designed to introduce the concept of mindfulness, offering a variety of mindfulness practices, while also teaching them interesting facts about the brain science behind those practices.
- MindShift: An interactive app designed to help youth learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking and identify active steps that will help them take charge of their anxiety.
- Foundrybc.ca: Online resources that provides young people aged 12-24 and their families with a one-stop access point for mental-health, well-being and substance-use social support and services, as well as navigation assistance and self-management.
- Stresslr: A free web app for children ages 9-11 to learn about stress, understand how they react to it, and develop healthy strategies to cope with stress in their everyday lives.
- AnxietyBC: Information on how anxiety can express itself and effective strategies to address it in children, youth and young adults.