Parents of Children and Youth with Anxiety

Resources for Parents

It is not easy to watch your child suffer from anxieties.  Although parents’ instincts are to “rescue” their child from fearful situations, parents should instead try to support their child in facing his or her anxiety.  The following resources offer comprehensive information on anxiety in children, excellent tips on how to help your child cope with anxiety, and support for parents and families.

    • Dr. Anand Prabhu, from CHEO, provides excellent information and strategies for parents of children living with anxiety at: “Helping Children Cope with Fear and Anxiety”.
    • Dr. Michael Cheng, MD, offers a comprehensive guide for families at: Overcoming Anxiety: Guide for Families.
    • Parent’s Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEO) (613.321.3211) is a non-profit, volunteer driven family support organization for families whose children, youth or young adults up to age 24 are dealing with mental health issues.
    • CHEO offers a number of books on anxiety and stress for parents, teenagers and children, in its Kaitlin Atkinson Family Resource Library.  The library is located on the first floor of the hospital, and a contact person can be reached at 613-738-3942 or

Urgent Care

    • If a child up to 18 years is actively suicidal, at risk of harm to him/herself or to another, he or she should be brought immediately to the emergency department of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), 401 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON, K1G 6W3.  Youth or young adults in urgent situations over 18 can be brought to any hospital’s emergency department.

Semi-Urgent or Non-Urgent Care

    • If you are looking for mental health services for a child, the following are great places to start:
    • Your family physician
    • Walk-in clinics, such as the Youth Services Bureau (12 to 20 years of age) or Crossroads Children’s Centre (up to 12 years)
    • Private practice counsellors such as psychologists, social workers or certified counsellors.  A database of counsellors is available online through Psychology Today.
    • Your Employee Assistance Program (if available)

Crisis Lines:

Physician-Referred Program at CHEO and the Royal Ottawa Hospitals

  • The Royal Ottawa and CHEO have a partnership called the Children and Youth – Specialized Psychiatric and Mental Health Services program (CY-SPMHS).  Children under 16 are primarily treated at CHEO, whereas the Royal generally serves youth between 16 and 18 years of age.  The CY-SPMHS team collaborates with community-based youth mental health services.  Patients must be referred by a physician.  Physicians wishing to make a referral must contact centralized intake at 613.737.2496 or toll free at 1.866.737.2496.

Research on Youth Mental Health

  • University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR), Youth Psychiatry Unit.   The University of Ottawa’s IMHR regularly invites youth of different ages to participate in their on-going research studies.  For information on these studies, and to read about opportunities to participate in these studies, contact Research Coordinator Meagan Birmingham at 613-722-6521 ext. 6438 or