Born to Thrive

Born to Thrive - Boys in a kayak

The final article in our 3 part series on Mental Health focuses on how to help our children thrive in a world often filled with obstacles. We hope you have been able to glean helpful information from these articles. To watch the series, visit Anxiety and Mental Health Resources For Families.

Part 1 – Own it or Moan about it?
Part 2 – Resilience and our Mental Health

We live in a world where our image, our success and even our interpretation of how loved we are can be ranked. With a simple click – we let others know whether or not we ‘like’ them and the things they are posting. Social media allows us to choose which parts of our lives others see. In doing so, we can create a perception of our world, whether it is accurate or not, it is the one we let others see. But, hidden behind the images are real people – people who might be thriving, while others are simply surviving.

Instead of looking at the statistics of how to get the most likes, let’s consider the statistics of those who might be trying to simply survive. 

  • Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industralized world (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2020)
  • Approximately 20% of Canadian youth have a mental disorder (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2020)
  • Between 2008–2009 and 2018–2019, there was a 61% increase in visits to the emergency department and a 60% increase in hospitalizations for issues related to mental health (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2020)
  • An estimated 75% of children with mental disorders do not access specialized treatment services (Waddell et al., 2005)

God created us to thrive (Psalms 145:14), to prosper and flourish. How do we encourage our children to do that in the context of their world, their personal struggles and their own beliefs? With so much stacked against them, how do we help them stick to their own roadmaps instead of following those of others. 

As parents and teachers, we want our children and students to thrive. To help, we put good structures in place. We encourage our children to attend a youth group and hear about God’s love and care for them. We take the opportunity to show them unconditional love regardless of the struggles they are facing. We walk and talk with them through the process of developing perseverance and resilience. Sometimes this may not be enough. In those cases we shouldn’t hesitate to look to external supports.

This could be resources and support from family, teachers and other caring adults in their lives. It could be professional support from counsellors, doctors or therapists. Regardless, your child might need to be affirmed that it does not change their value. And how do you know what your child needs? 

First, I encourage you to trust yourself. You know your children better than anyone else. Second, I encourage you to just listen – listen to their needs, listen to their interest and meet them on the road on which they are travelling. Finally, consider seeking guidance from a trusted source (a teacher, doctor or pastor) to explore next steps. If children are not thriving with the supports in place, that might be an indication that different support may be needed. 

Here are a few resources to consider if your child needs further support:

Rachel Poon

About the Author

Rachel Poon

Learning Services Consultant

Whether it’s hiking, camping, fishing or sitting with a book by the fire, Rachel can often be found outdoors.  She started with HCOS this past February as an LS Consultant in the Lowermainlad, where she had just come from teaching Grade 3 at a campus school. Her passion for helping children with learning challenges is what prompted her to pursue further education where she has just recently completed her Master’s degree in Special Education through TWU!

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