• Family Wellness

    Families are stronger together.

Resources for Family Wellness

Members of our family are usually the first people we lean on for support. Before we can help others, we have to take care of ourselves. We can’t pour from an empty cup! On this page you will find resources that will help you start the conversation around mental health at home and many wellness activities you can do as a family.

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Check out this podcast for parents, guardians and caregivers!

Conversation Cards for Family

Below you’ll find our “Conversation Cards” to help you kick-start your conversation with friends or family about mental health.

1. Simply look at a card and read the question on the front.

2. The other person offers a response.

3. Then discuss the answer together.

What is mental health?
Mental health is part of our overall well being and is just as important as physical health. We all have mental health and it affects how we deal with stress, interact with others, and make all kinds of choices. Mental health is important at all ages, from young to old.
What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a real health problem that affects the brain. It changes the way you think, feel and behave. Absolutely anyone can have a mental illness. 1 in 4 Canadians will experience some type of mental illness.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental illness and mood disorder that involves the experience of sad mood, low energy and fatigue, sleep disruption, low appetite or overeating, and sometimes thoughts about harming yourself or even death. However, depression is treatable through therapy and/or medication.
What is anxiety?
We all experience anxiety sometimes, this is normal. It is our body’s response to stress or a fear that something bad is going to happen. You can feel anxiety in your body: you may feel your heart race, you may feel hot and sweaty, feel shaky, or feel nauseous. Anxiety becomes a concern when it is long-lasting and very intense. Anxiety Disorders are mental illnesses.
What is stigma?
Stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. When a person is labelled by their illness, they are seen as part of a stereotyped group.
Do young people living in rural communities experience mental health differently than ones living in urban environments?
Yes, children and youth in rural communities are at an increased risk for severe mental health issues and even suicide. Feelings of loneliness, isolation and a lack of awareness of mental health issues all contribute to this, but there is always help.
 Why is there stigma surrounding mental health in rural communities?
Many rural and farming communities have values of hard work and independence woven into the culture and climate of the community. Seeking help for mental health might appear to contradict these values. However, seeking help is extremely brave, and does not make you weak or any less independent.
Why is addiction more prevalent in rural communities?
Addiction is a negative coping mechanism. Stigma associated with mental health might drive individuals to use a substance as a way to cope with their mental health issues, instead of seeking help. Individuals in rural communities don’t have easy access to mental health resources, which could lead to substance use and abuse.
How does mental health impact families?
If a family member is suffering with mental health issues, the whole family can be greatly impacted in terms of mood, stress, helplessness, etc. Family members may want to support the family member in question and not know how to, but our Toolkit has many resources for help.
Does being a family in a rural community influence mental health differently?
Families in rural or agricultural communities may be further from mental health resources, and from community and other family and friends. This distance can greatly impact both the mental health of the individuals in the family and their ability to seek help for their mental health issues.
What are some contributing factors that impact mental health in rural dwelling families?
Feelings of isolation, loneliness, lack of community connection, burnout, being overworked and stigma surrounding mental health are all factors that greatly influence the mental health of families in rural communities.

How does addiction impact families?
Addiction, like any mental health issue, greatly impacts the dynamics of the family. It is important to understand that addiction is actually a mental health issue and that helping someone through addiction is complicated, but it is possible if they are willing to help themselves.
 Does the physical health of my family impact their mental health?
Yes, physical health and mental health are deeply connected. Supporting one area of health supports the other. Everyone should encourage healthy lifestyles for both the physical and mental health of the family to support their overall health and wellness.
Do young people living in rural communities experience mental health differently than ones living in urban environments?
Yes, children and youth in rural communities are at an increased risk for severe mental health issues and even suicide. Feelings of loneliness, isolation and a lack of awareness of mental health issues all contribute to this, but there is always help.
 How does mental health related stigma impact families?

If a member of the family is experiencing mental health issues, the decision of whether, or not to reach out for help could be impacted by stigma surrounding mental health in the community, and seeking help for it. Not addressing mental health issues can greatly impact the family dynamic and it is imperative to talk about it.
 How can I combat stigma associated with mental health in my family?
A large part of combating stigma is being open to talking about the stigmatized issue. Having open conversations with your family about mental health and mental illness is a great starting point. Beyond that, inviting family members to be open and vulnerable about their mental health, and doing so in return, can further combat this stigma and instead create supportive environments.
What can my family do to reduce the stigma associated with mental health in our rural community?
Your family can promote mental wellness and inform others about what this issue looks like. You can encourage your children and family to speak to their friends about mental health and wellbeing so they can bring this information back to their own families.

Is it important to talk to my kids about mental health?
So much of overcoming issues associated with mental health is reaching out for help and understanding that you are not alone. Talking to your kids about mental health might give them the opportunity to open up to you about something they’ve been dealing with on their own.
 Are there enough mental health services for children and youth in rural communities?
There aren’t nearly enough mental health services and resources in rural communities in general, let alone ones that specifically cater to children and youth. However, there are some services that just take some effort to seek out. Explore this Toolkit and talk to medical professionals in your community.
What can I do as a parent if my child is experiencing mental health associated distress?
The best thing you can do is be there to support them through whatever they’re going through. Learning about their specific mental health needs and concerns can aid in this. You can use the resources on this website to help understand what your child is going through in order to better support them. It is imperative to know that you are not alone in this struggle.
Use this Situation Shifter activity with your family to turn negative thoughts into positive ones!
Click here for downloadable peer support workbooks for families!

The All IN Peer Support for Families Workshops are designed to offer support for you as you journey on the path of recovery for your family and you.

Helpful Videos for Families

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