An estimated 15-20 percent of kids and youth suffer from mental health disorders, but only one in six get the treatment they need.
In an effort to get more kids help, the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre created four videos featuring mental health therapists and puppets acting out what it's like for kids to talk to a therapist about how they feel.
"We wanted to take away the stigma for kids of seeing a therapist," says Dr. Marshall Korenblum, who led the sessions along with psychologist Sarah Kibblewhite. "We wanted to give them the opportunity to see that a therapist is a safe place to go. Even little kids can be ashamed or embarrassed about feeling sad or worried or angry. The stigma is pervasive."
The videos were filmed at Toronto's George Webster Elementary School in a grade 2/3 classroom. The therapists used puppets to act out discussions that could happen between a child and a therapist. The students were able to ask questions throughout the presentation, and some of their comments are in the videos.
The videos focus on four different areas of of concern for kids. The first is a discussion about what it would be like to talk to a therapist about feelings, the second is what it would be like to talk to a therapist about feeling sad, the third is explaining the difference between a family doctor and a 'talking doctor,' and the last is about talking to a therapist about being bullied.
The project follows on the heels of a high school project the centre did about depression. The Hincks-Dellcrest team was looking for another opportunity to get back into a school setting to talk to young kids about about mental health, says Lennox White, audiovisual director at the centre.
"The intent was to be interactive with kids, not doing a one way presentation, but involving the kids, getting their ideas and thoughts about the subject of 'big feelings,' says White. "The videos were a collaboration with kids, and they responded very well. What you don't see in the videos is how deep the conversations went about the reality of their lives."
Here's the video on talking to a therapist about feelings.
- Talking To Kids About Sadness Using puppets, Dr. Marshall Korenblum and psychologist Sarah Kibblewhite demonstrate a session with a mental health professional. They talk about 'What can be done with big feelings of sadness.'
- A Different Kind of Doctor Dr. Marshall Korenblum and psychologist Sarah Kibblewhite talk to kids about the difference between a family doctor and a 'talking doctor.'
- Dealing With Bullying Using puppets, Dr. Marshall Korenblum and psychologist Sarah Kibblewhite demonstrate what it's like for a child to talk to a mental health professional about the child being bullied.
TVOKids has lots of educational digital media to support your child's learning and emotional and mental health. Below are just a few of their offerings. For more, visit TVOKids.com.
- Sticks Gets Sad In this episode of Gisèle's Big Backyard, Sticks talks to Gisèle about how he is sad.
- Sticks Gets Mad In this episode of Gisèle's Big Backyard, Sticks talks to Gisèle about his anger.