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London doctor to address anxiety at Petrolia event

By Melissa Schilz, Postmedia Network

Yellow ribbons were placed across Petrolia last week to express community support and highlight mental health awareness after an LCCVI student died by suicide. Melissa Schilz/Postmedia Network

Yellow ribbons were placed across Petrolia last week to express community support and highlight mental health awareness after an LCCVI student died by suicide. Melissa Schilz/Postmedia Network

London based child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Dave Templeman, is scheduled to come to Petrolia this month to discuss anxiety and how to manage it among young people.

 

Sarah Milner, Executive Director of the Central Lambton Family Health Team, said this is one part of their plan to strengthen mental health services in the area.

 

Milner said with anxiety being quite prevalent among children and teenagers, they wanted to do something to address this. Funding for the presentation was acquired through the Theo Fleury event that was held last April in Petrolia.

 

“The Town of Petrolia was very generous and offered us a portion of some of the funds raised to dedicate towards mental health,” she said. “Anxiety seems to be a big topic.”

 

Milner said they wanted to bring something to the town that would benefit a wide range of people. The event is scheduled for next week, and Milner said they’ve had about 200 people register so far.

 

“We were really taken back by the response we’ve received,” she said, noting that there’s still plenty of room for more people to attend.

 

Milner said it’s an important subject to tackle, especially so parents, teachers and caregivers can pick up the signs that a child may be struggling.

 

“Often times there are things that are occurring that maybe families don’t even realize are anxiety related,” she said. “It may be more of a symptomatic complaint…or it could be behavioral, like avoiding school.”

 

Milner said anxiety can be caused be related to a number of different factors, including genetics, transitioning from elementary to high school, and even social media. She said kids are often under a lot of pressure, but she wants them to know that they aren’t alone.

 

“It’s tough, because sometimes the kids don’t even realize, because technology is such a part of their life,” she said. “But the earlier you can identify some these issues, and treat them, the better outcomes people usually have.”

 

Dr. Templeman is a strong advocate for youth mental health – Milner said he’s a specialist who can help to explain anxiety in children and youth, help increase that awareness and provide practical strategies.

 

Templeman has received numerous teaching awards, is a qualified expert witness in child and adolescent mental health by the Ontario Supreme Court and developed the early intervention program for children with anxiety nine years ago in Grand Erie.

 

He has also written a book on the topic of mental health directed to teens, called A Teenager’s Guide to Life: The Secret to Living Life and Being Happy.

 

“We really felt this was a priority,” she said. “It’s a really great opportunity for him to come to Petrolia.”

 

Milner said health and wellness is a priority for the community, and mental health is a big part of this. Holding open discussions and asking questions is the best way to address the issues at hand. With the community currently in grieving after the suicide of a local student, Milner said she hopes the presentation will offer insight into early intervention and prevention, and let families know that they do have resources to offer.

 

“It’s very relevant to what’s happening now,” she said. “That’s one step towards helping the overall picture of mental health.”

 

Parents and youth can access resources through Dr. Templeman’s website, www.doctortempleman.com.

 

IF YOU GO:

When: Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Second gymnasium, LCCVI

Cost: FREE

St. Clair Child and youth Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association will also be on site to answer questions and talk to attendees.