Happy Earth Month! Taking care of the planet also means taking care of each other - and Kids Help Phone can help

Apr 11, 2013, 10:00 ET from Kids Help Phone

TORONTO, April 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Did you know that April is also known Earth Month? Every year, over 180 countries - including Canada - celebrate Earth Day on April 22, but celebrations take place throughout the whole month.

So what does Kids Help Phone have to do with Earth Day? This annual event is all about taking small steps to improve the world we live in. It's about making ecological choices, but it's also about improving our relationships with our social environments, and that means taking care of ourselves, and each other.

When young people focus on their well-being, and the well-being of those around them, they are taking small steps to strengthen their communities and create the necessary support systems that will help them feel empowered.

By gaining power over their lives, they can feel more confident to take the small steps needed to make a difference in the world around them.

Earth Day, Mental health and well-being: did you know…

  • More than 6 million people in Canada, many of them young people in schools across the country, will take part in Earth Day activities this month (Source: www.earthday.ca)
  • At Kids Help Phone, approximately 1 out of every 3 counselling sessions related to mental health in 2012.
  • About 6% of the calls and online posts Kids Help Phone receives are from kids who want to help other kids.
  • Social support makes it easier to cope with life's stressors and can come from a variety of sources, including family, friends and neighbours.
  • Support is linked to lower rates of depression, greater self-esteem, and more positive attitudes towards school.
  • Hope is arguably the most influential of all emotions. It gets us through stressful times and supports  overall well-being.
  • Evidence tells us that well-being is becoming more elusive, partly because of unrealistic or outdated expectations and pervasive uncertainty about the future.

What our experts are saying

"At Kids Help Phone, we often hear kids saying, 'I'm scared', or, 'I don't have any control over what's happening to me'," says Alain Johnson, Clinical Director, French Language Services. "If we focus on helping young gain a sense of power in their lives, it can be the first step in changing their mental health."

What can parents do to promote well-being?

  • Be hopeful for the young people in your lives. When you believe in young people, it helps them to believe in themselves.  An adult's own outlook influences the youth around them.
  • Encourage independence. When young people are able to take an active role in making decisions that affect them, they learn that they have some control over their environment. In this way, having choices - and the opportunity to try, fail, and try again - teaches kids, teens and young adults how to be hopeful.
  • Focus on strengths and skills. When a child is struggling, pointing out the things they are doing well can help them to become hopeful that they will be able to deal successfully with future challenges.
  • Volunteer together! It's a great way for families to have fun and feel closer; you get to know each other in new ways, build skills and learn new ones, and ultimately the chance to connect with one another. Why not make National Volunteer Week (April 21-27) the beginning of a new family tradition and sign up here.
  • Be part of the Walk so Kids Can Talk presented by BMO, Canada's largest walk in support of child and youth mental health and well-being. It's a great way to spend time together as a family, get outside, and show the young people in your life, and in your community, that you are there for them: www.walksokidscantalk.ca

About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for our expertise in providing vital, innovative, and professional counselling services to children and youth. Since 1989 we have offered children, teens and young adults in Canada a critical lifeline of hope and support, through our free, anonymous and confidential service. Our professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people ages five to 20, in urban, rural, and remote communities, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources online and by phone. Our internationally recognized, award-winning websites are considered a model of child-focused interactive design, and offer online counselling forums and engaging, therapeutic games, tools and information to encourage resilience and self-care. A community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding and relies on community and corporate support to keep our essential service available. We're there for the *6.5 million young people in Canada, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English and in French.

SOURCE Kids Help Phone