I’m becoming a parent. Is mental health support available?

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If you’re becoming a parent, you may be feeling a mix of emotions. You may also be wondering what the future will be like for you, the baby and any other people in your life. That can be a lot to process! It can be helpful to know that mental health and other supports are available across Canada as you navigate this time.

Becoming a parent can be both a rewarding and a challenging experience. Some parents share that the opportunity to be with and support a young person as they grow and develop is unlike anything else in their lives. Some parents also often describe struggles, including concerns related to day-to-day care and more.

What can I expect when becoming a parent?

Most parents navigate a unique journey after a baby enters their life, but there are some common themes in their stories. Teens and young adults who are becoming (or already living as) parents may experience:

  • a sense of pride
  • discrimination
  • exhaustion / feelings of being overwhelmed
  • financial hardships
  • frustration
  • gratefulness
  • happiness
  • helplessness
  • housing challenges
  • isolation
  • issues related to work
  • joy
  • relationship struggles
  • sadness / depression
  • school challenges
  • strengthened relationships
  • stress / anxiety
  • unconditional love

Where can I find support along my journey?

It can be challenging to know where you can turn and what information you can trust as you’re becoming a young parent. It can be reassuring to know that supports are available in Canada for mental health and well-being, financial assistance, parenting tips and more. Here are some ideas to explore:

Make connections

Connecting with people you trust can help you map out a community of support and find people who are experiencing something similar to you. Folks in your network may be able to share their own experiences as parents, or just listen when you need to talk. Here’s a list of people to help you get started:

  • Elders
  • friends
  • other parents / caregivers
  • relatives
  • teachers / guidance counsellors
  • the baby’s other parent (including their family members and friends)

Find resources

Seeking out resources accessible to youis a way to get help and access programs, services and activities that feel close. Kids Help Phone’s Resources Around Me is a tool you can use to find these types of supports in your community. Here are a few people / places you can try:

  • community centres, childcare centres and / or family centres
  • financial services
  • Friendship centres
  • health-care professionals (e.g. doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, etc.)
  • helping professionals (e.g. social workers, caseworkers, etc.)
  • housing programs
  • job boards
  • public health services
  • sexual health clinics
  • spiritual / religious groups
  • virtual / in person support groups

You can also check out these parenting tip sheets from Nobody’s Perfect (Government of Canada) for more info and ways to get support.

Take care

Taking care of yourself can help give you strength, confidence and time to recharge when becoming a parent. Here are some things to try and ideas to keep in mind:

Becoming a parent can be both a fulfilling and difficult experience. If you have questions about parenting and your mental health, you can reach out to someone you trust for support. Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors and trained, volunteer crisis responders are also here for you 24/7.