How to “have THAT talk” about mental health with your youth

By: Jason Haug, Program and Project Management Officer, Ottawa Public Health

There’s a lot of pressure facing youth. They are going through puberty while trying to find out who they are and where they fit in. As a parent, you will most likely have questions about your youth’s mental health, such as:

  • How do I know if my youth is in good mental health?
  • When should I be concerned about my youth’s mental health?
  • How do I start talking about mental health with my youth?
  • What should I look for if I think my youth is depressed?

Ottawa Public Health launched a series of videos called “have THAT talk” to help parents with some of the many questions you may have about your youth’s mental health. In Ontario, 1 in every 5 children experiences a mental health problem. Some common concerns youth experience can include anxiety, depression, trauma, and self harm behaviours. For many parents, bringing up the topic of mental health might be uncomfortable at first.

These videos are here to help you:

  • Identify a possible mental health problem
  • Learn how to bring up the topic of mental health in a safe way
  • Relate to case study examples that might be applicable to your youth
  • Teach your youth about resiliency and coping skills

In addition to the videos, make sure you check out our youth mental health section.

Do you have more questions?

  • Speak with a Public Health Nurse. Call the Ottawa Public Health Info Line (OPHIL) at 613-PARENTS [613-727-3687] (TTY: 613-580-9656) or email Ottawa Public Health at
  • Connect with a Public Health Nurse and other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa