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January 28, 2020



Mental illness and mental health are not synonymous. Often adolescents are simply going through a phase, and sometimes it can be more serious. We all discuss healthy lifestyle choices, often in reference to nurturing our body through good diet, exercise, and sleep. What we often overlook and don’t understand is that mental health needs another steady stream of nurturing behavior, and when we are young, we have a greater opportunity to create those habits that we maintain for a lifetime of strong mental health. Start Here: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children and Teens through Mental Health Challenges is like a nutrition book for the mind.

Just like going through a phase of eating only cereal for breakfast, young people experience phases of moods and other behaviors that may alarm parents. Each chapter delves into a different mental issue and provides and a family vignette that looks at the particular disorder. The authors dive into the psychiatric disorders, risk factors, and warning signs and also meet with professionals to help assess necessary intervention and potential treatment. The most important note about Start Here is that parents and caregivers address the issues as soon as possible because much more harm can come if we ignore any mental health issue, just like ignoring a harmful physical ailment. We have to treat our physical and mental health with the same attention and care to live a healthy life.


From two of the top child and adolescent psychiatrists at The Hospital for Sick Children comes an accessible guide to common mental health struggles, such as anxiety and depression, for any parent wondering how to help their child.

As parents, we worry about our children—about their physical health, performance at school, the types of friends they have, and, of course, their mental health. Every day seems to bring new and expanding issues and disorders and troubling statistics about the rise of mental illness in children and teens. It’s usually obvious what to do for physical injuries like broken bones, but when it comes to our children’s mental health, the answers are much less clear, and sometimes even contradictory.

Pier Bryden and Peter Szatmari, top child and adolescent psychiatrists, are here to help. Using their combined six decades working with families and kids—and their own experiences as parents—they break down the stigma of mental health illness and walk parents through the warning signs, risk factors, prevention strategies, and the process of diagnosis and treatment for mental health challenges arising from:

  • Eating disorders

  • Anxiety

  • Psychosis

  • Sleep Disorders

  • Substance Use Disorders

  • ADHD

  • Autism

  • Depression

  • Trauma

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors


The most important thing to remember as a parent is that you and your child are not alone. Wellness is a continuum, and there is a lot parents can do to bring their child back to a place of safety. The road ahead isn’t always easy or straightforward, but this guidebook offers essential advice that every parent needs to advocate for their child.

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