Mental Well-Being

What is Mental Well-Being?

Mental well-being is the capacity of people to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance the ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges. This means everyone, including those who are struggling or have a mental illness, has the capacity to feel good and function well in their lives. 

Mental well-being is best supported by a balance of social, physical, psychological and emotional well-being.


We  are connected to others and our community. We feel we belong and are included.


We  are doing well because we feel we have control over the direction of our lives.


We  make choices that will keep our bodies healthy.


We  feel good most of the time because we often have positive feelings such as being happy, thankful, and satisfied. We enjoy life.

Why do we need to care for our children’s mental well-being?

When our children have a balance in these four areas, they are more likely to feel good and do well in life.

Children will:

  • Have the ability to handle stress in a healthy way 
  • Know how to manage their feelings
  • Be hopeful about their future

5 Ways to Mental Well-Being

5 ways mental well-being designThe 5 Ways to Mental Well-Being are evidence-based actions that when practiced regularly help enhance and maintain mental well-being. There are simple activities that we can do on a daily basis in order to promote feeling good about life, and support dealing with stress and challenges.


Strong, healthy connections with others can help children feel better about themselves. They feel safe and that they belong. When children are listened to, and in turn, learn to be thoughtful of others, it helps build their mental well-being. We can support our children to connect.

  • Talk and listen
  • Sit down for family meals
  • Turn off all electronic screens and go for a walk or hold a family board game night
  • Attend recreation centres, camps, your local faith group, etc. to widen their circle of friends
  • Check the local newspaper to find community events
  • Spend time with extended family, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, or family friends


Keep learning

Learning throughout life leads to feelings of confidence, hope, and purpose. When children teach themselves something new, they feel a sense of accomplishment. We can inspire our children to keep exploring and learning.

  • Encourage reading books just for fun
  • Look for a variety of opportunities to experiment such as cooking, sewing, model building, and painting
  • Visit art galleries, museums, libraries, and zoos
  • Provide craft materials, musical instruments, sports equipment, tools, etc. for children to try something new
  • Learn about all things Science at the local library


Be active

Being physically active can boost mood, reduce stress, and improve focus. Give your children lots of opportunities to be active inside and outdoors. Signing them up for group sports can give them confidence. Sports can also lead to new friendships outside of school and help them connect with other adults such as coaches.


Take notice

Understanding their world starts when children take notice of everything around them. When they are aware of their own thoughts and feelings, it helps them to understand themselves better. We can encourage our children to take time to pause and notice what is happening within and around them.

  • Encourage them to start a journal
  • Teach them the words to express their feelings
  • Allow them a quiet time to chill out when needed
  • Start a garden, look for bugs, go bird watching to get them in touch with nature
  • Take in free Friday night tours of the Art Gallery of Hamilton
  • Explore Hamilton’s Waterfalls


Give back - Youth Ages 15 to 19

Helping, sharing and taking time to participate in the community is linked with an increased sense of pride and satisfaction. When youth give back, they build skills and connect with others. This is good for both individual and community well-being. We can support youth to give through their everyday acts, as well as with bigger commitments.

  • Look for opportunities to volunteer
  • Encourage them to share their skills and talents with their peers, family, and community
  • Be a role model of kindness and consideration for others

Be creative & play - Children Ages 4 to 14

Being creative and playing can increase children’s attention span, improve problem solving, and teach how to get along with others. Play is also fun and feels good. All types are important for their development. We can boost their creativity and play time.

  • Spend time playing with your child
  • Explore Hamilton’s parks, playgrounds and beaches
  • Provide a variety of materials to draw, paint, collect and build
  • Encourage make-believe, acting, story telling
  • Build, imagine and play with Lego

Where to find help

All children and youth have times when they are sad, angry, frustrated or anxious. But, when your child is often upset, cannot be comforted, is having difficulties at school or with friends, or is having problems that seem to becoming worse, it may be time to reach out to your family doctor or a mental health professional..

Hamilton’s Youth Service Guide lists a variety of community agencies and organizations that provide programs and service for youth.

Youth Service Guide - English (PDF, 265 KB)
Youth Service Guide - French (PDF, 239 KB)

In an emergency call 911

Child & Youth Mental Health Emergency Services (CHYMES)
Ages 18 & under. Go to McMaster Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.

Crisis lines for women with or without children who experienced abuse
Inasmuch House Crisis Line 905-529-8600
Interval House Help Line 905-387-8881
Martha House Crisis Line 905-523-6277
Native Women’s Centre Crisis Line 1-888-308-6559 or 905-664-1114

Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST for Youth)
For ages 18 and under. For mental health crisis situations. 905-972-8338

Kids Help Phone
For youth 20 & under 1-800-668-6868

Salvation Army
Suicide Prevention Crisis Line 905-522-1477

Sexual Assault Centre
For ages 16 and over 905-525-4162

Pregnancy & childbirth support for young mothers. Call for hours. 1-800-550-4900 or 905-527-3677

For boys aged 14 to 18. Counsellor available for live chat Wed to Sat 6 pm to 2 am or 24/7 phone support. 1-866-393-5933

Catholic Children’s Aid Society
905-525-2012 After hours emergency: 905-522-8053

Catholic Family Services
For all faiths. Walk-in Counselling Clinic. 44 Main Street E., Unit 201. 905-527-3823 ext. 279

Child & Adolescent Services
For ages 2-18. Call Contact Hamilton. 905-570-8888

Child & Youth Mental Health Services
Chedoke Hospital & McMaster University Medical Centre For up to age 18. Hospital mental health services. 905-521-2100 ext. 74382

Children’s Aid Society
905-522-1121 After hours emergency 905-522-8053

The Cleghorn Program
For ages 16 & up. Assessment & treatment for people experiencing early psychosis. 905-522-1155 ext. 36586

Contact Hamilton
For ages 18 & under. Connects to mental health & community services. 905-570-8888

Good Shepherd Community Mental Health Program
For ages 12 to 21 905-528-9109

Kids Help Phone
For ages 20 & under. 24 hour phone line. 1-800-668-6868

Learning Effective Anti-violence for Families (LEAF) Program
For ages 4 to 16. Group programs for those who witnessed the abuse of their mothers. Good Shepherd 905-523-8766. Catholic Family Services 905-527-3823. Inasmuch House 905-529-8149 ext.122

Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, Hamilton Chapter
Support groups for family members of someone with a mental illness. 905-523-7413

St. Joseph’s Youth Wellness Centre
For ages 17 to 25 to receive care for mental health & addiction issues. 905-522-1155 ext. 31725

Your Life Counts
Support & online help.

For ages 13 to 18. Mental health treatment & educational services 905-577-1020

Grace Haven
Housing & onsite school for pregnant & parenting youth 905-522-7336

Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board HWCDSB
Alternative Learning 905-525-2930
Notre Dame House School. High school education. Principal referral. 905-308-8090
PASS/SOAR. 905.525.2930 ext. 2525
St. Martin’s Manor. Housing & onsite school for pregnant & parenting youth. 905-575-7500
Wilma’s Place. For ages 16 to 19. Principal referral. 905-525-6640

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board HWDSB
Community & Continuing Education. 905-561-2190.
S.A.L.E.P. Centre. High school education for youth ages 14 to 18. Principal referral. 905-387-9379
System Alternative Education Programs. Independent learning & co-op placements. 905-383-5111.

Hamilton Pathways to Education
For youth in the North Hamilton area (Barton to Waterfront; Queen to Sherman). 905-523-6719

Wesley Urban Ministries Teen Drop-in Centre
For ages 13 to 18. 905-521-0926

The AIDS Network
Counselling, support, information & referrals for people infected with & affected by HIV or AIDS. 905-528-0854

LGBT Youth Line
Support for LGBTTQQ2SI. 1-800-268-9688 Text 647-694-4275

Sexual Health Information Line
Counselling about STIs, safer sex, birth control. No call display. Clinics around city. 905-528-5894. French 1-800-267-7432. Other languages 1-800-668-2437

STD & HIV Clinics
Confidential, anonymous testing. 905-546-3541

Street Health Centre
Testing for HIV or STIs, hepatitis vaccines, needle exchange, emergency contraceptive pill. 905-777-7852

The Van Needle Exchange Program
Free condoms, needle exchange, Hepatitis B vaccine, counselling & referrals. No call display. 905-317-9966

Community Employment Services (Job Connect)
Free services to anyone seeking employment &/or training. 905-575-2177

Employment Hamilton
Youth employment 905-522-4902

Hamilton Volunteering Opportunities
Provides the latest postings in a variety of areas including marketing, accounting, fundraising, and food services.

Human Resources Development Canada
Employment Information.

Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club
Information about scholarships. 905-549-2814

Ontario Works
Financial support (Social Assistance) for basic needs. 905-546-4800

Volunteer Hamilton
Search for volunteer opportunities. 905-523-4444

Youth Info Line
Information on Government of Canada employment programs, services & resources.

Angela’s Place
Housing for mothers aged 21 & younger and their children. 905-549-4276

Brennan House
Housing with a mental health program for ages 16 to 20. 614 King St. E. 905-577-1166

Housing Help Centre of Hamilton
Provides housing access &support.119 Main St. E. 905-526-8100

Emergency shelters for women over 16
Inasmuch House 905-529-8149
Interval House 905-387-9959
Martha House 905-523-8895

Living Rock
Support for finding housing. 30 Wilson St. 905-528-7625

Native Women’s Centre
Emergency shelter for women in crisis. 905-664-1114

Notre Dame House
Emergency shelter & resource centre for homeless teens ages 16 to 21. 14 Cannon St. W. 905-308-8090

Wesley Youth Housing Program
Transitional housing for homeless or at risk of homelessness youth ages 16 to 21.191 Main Street W. Suite 401. 905-527-4430 ext. 28

Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
100 Main St. E., Suite 203. 905-527-4572

Alcohol, Drugs & Gambling
For over age 12 with gambling and gaming problems. Mon to Fri 9 am to 4:30 pm. 905-546-3606

For ages 10 to 19. Support for teens whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. 905-522-1733

Alternatives for Youth
For ages 12 to 22. Provides substance use counselling, education & outreach. 905-527-4469

John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area
Offers a variety of youth programs. 905-522-4446

Smokers’ Helpline
Support to quit smoking. 1-877-513-5333

Tobacco Hotline
Counselling & clinics to quit smoking. 905-540-5566

The VAN Needle Exchange Program
Free condoms, needle exchange, counselling & referral. No call display. Accepts texts. 905-317-9966

Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP)
Free for ages 8 to 24.  905-526-8452

Danielle’s Place
Eating disorders support & resource centre. 905-333-5548 or 1-866-277-9959

De Dwa Da Dehs Nyes
678 Main St. E. 905-544-4320

Hamilton Public Health Dental Services
Emergency dental services 905-546-2424 ext. 3566

Dental Health Bus
Emergency dental services for those with low income & no dental insurance. Check website for schedule. 905-546-2489

Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre

Health Connections Information Line
For information about pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting of children 0 to 6 years. 905-546-3550

North Hamilton Community Health Centre

To find a dentist

To find a doctor

Flamborough Food Banks
Photo ID, proof of address/income. Wednesday 1 pm to 3 pm & 7 pm to 8:30 pm 1432 Centre Rd., Carlisle. 905-690-1036

Good Shepherd Centres
Emergency food. ID & proof of income/address. Mon to Fri 9 am to 4 pm. 155 Cannon St. E. 905-972-9485

The Kings Way Blessing Centre
649 King St. E. 905-296-9473

Living Rock
Youth-focused. Tuesday & Thursday 1 pm to 4 pm, Wednesday 1:30 pm to 4 pm, Saturday 1:30 to 6:30 pm. 30 Wilson St. 905-528-7625

Mission Services of Hamilton
Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 12:30 pm 196 Wentworth St. N. 905-528-4212 ext. 1101

Neighbour to Neighbour
ID, proof of address / income. Monday to Wednesday 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Thursday 12:30 pm to 7:30 pm. 28 Athens St. 905-574-1334

Roxborough Food Bank
Monday & Thursday 9 am-12 pm. St. Helen’s Centre, 785 Britannia Ave. 905-523-5546 ext. 250

St. Matthew’s House
Monday to Friday 9 am to 3 pm. 414 Barton St. E. 905-523-5546

Salvation Army
Emergency food. 150 King St W, Suite 1, Dundas. Call 905-627-0572 for appointment or 80 Bay St. N. Central Hamilton.
Call 905-540-1888 for hours.

Stoney Creek Community Food Bank
For Stoney Creek residents only. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:30 am to 1 pm. 605 Hwy 8, rear entrance. 905-643-2090

Welcome Inn
ID required. Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11:30 am to 2 pm. 40 Wood St. E. 905-525-5824

City of Hamilton Recreation and Culture
Fee assistance is available for residents living with low income. 905-546-2424 ext. 4569

Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club
Recreational activities, games room, gym, pool, youth empowerment program. 905-549-2814

Hamilton Public Library
Digital media labs, homework help, piano room, music downloads. 905-546-3200.

Jump Start
Fee assistance for ages 4 to 18 to participate in physical activity and sport.

KidSport Ontario
Fee assistance for up to age 18 to participate in physical activity and sport (including school sport).

Living Rock
Evening & weekend drop-in & recreation. 905-528-7625

NGen New Generation Youth Centre
A positive space where all youth are supported to develop leadership skills, work together & build community. For ages 13 to 24. 905-524-2222.

Routes Youth Centre
Programs & drop-in for ages 8 to 19. 10 Market St. S., Dundas. 905-929-0572.

Wesley Ministries Teen Drop-in Centre
For ages 13 to 18. Evening drop-in and recreation. Betty Brooks Community Centre, 155 Queen St. N.

Beasley Community Centre
145 Wilson St. Call 905-521-0926 for hours. 

YMCA - NYC Newcomer Youth Centre
For newcomers ages 13 to 24.
79 James St. S. 905-529-7102 ext. 5558 or 211 Centennial Pkwy N. 905-.662-9400

YMCA - Recreation programs for youth
905-529-7102 (Downtown) 905-690-3555 (Flamborough) 905-667-1515 (Mountain)

Programs for girls. 905-522-9922

Youth for Christ
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday during lunch periods 10:45 am to 1:15 pm. After school on Tuesday 3 to 5pm. 273 Parkside Drive, Waterdown. 905-690-9639