November 19, 2021

African American family illustrationFor some students and their families, a new school year and in-person learning may have come as a big relief and be an exciting time. For others the return might have led to stress, fear, and anxiety.

The pandemic has been really tough on all of us, especially kids. Here are some ideas about how to support your kids' mental health.

Take care of yourself first

Consider these five ideas to calm your own fear, stress and anxiety right now:

Pause: Stop, take some calming full breaths. Visualize yourself in a calming place. Or think of five things you’re grateful for.

Take breaks: Limit consumption of screen time and upsetting content from news and social media.

Alone time: Step away for a few minutes of quiet time, and consider carving out screen-free periods in your day. 

Be kind: Remind yourself, “I’m doing the best I can.”

Connect: Reach out to a friend, a relative, a faith group or a support service to talk about how you’re feeling. Dial Multnomah County’s Mental Health Call Center at 503-988-4888, anytime day or night. You don’t need to be in a crisis to call.

Self-care resources

Safe+Strong Information in many languages for supporting mental and emotional health. Includes signs to look for, self-care tips, help lines, crisis lines and more. Find support for your specific community.

Community-specific help Find help specifically for Black/African American, Native American, Latinx and Spanish-speaking, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other communities.

Support your family, advocate for others

Back to school: Five ways to support your children Helpful tips from the Youth Mental Health First-Aid curriculum of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. 

Work2BeWell Mental health resources and tools for parents, teens, and educators.

Build resilience in your child and family

Resilience Booster Parent tips for building resilience in children and youth from the American Psychological Association.

The 7 C's of Resilience (video) Dr. Ken Ginsburg, Center for Parent and Teen Communication, talks about his Seven C's of Resilience: Confidence Competence, Connection, Character, Contribution, Coping, and Control.

Family Resilience Lab Follow the Facebook page of the Resilient Families Lab at Purdue University.

Help kids process their feelings

50 Journaling Prompts for Teens 

Teach your teenager coping skills for wellbeing

Find help

It’s hard to be a parent in the best of times. If you need some support, or your child needs help, find professional resources below. If you’re feeling blue, reach out. Trained professionals are available to talk 24 hours a day.

Reach Out Oregon Call 1-833-732-2467. A community of support for families raising a child who experiences emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges. Talk to someone by phone, chat, text or email. Find a community on-line forum or attend events and trainings.

Multnomah County Mental Health Call Center Dial 503-988-4888. Anytime day or night. For any reason, whether in a crisis, looking for a counselor or just to talk.

Oregon Youth Line Call 877-968-8491 or Text ‘teen2teen’ to 839863. Teens are available to talk from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Adults are available at all other times.

School-Based Mental Health Services Any student at school in Multnomah County who is on the Oregon Health Plan or has no insurance can connect with a therapist right in their own school. Call the Mental Health Call Center to learn more: 503-988-4888.

The Trevor Project Call 1-866-488-7386. The world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) young people. Information, resources and personalized help. Online chat, text and phone assistance available.

Youth Mental Health: Family Guide (308.4 KB)