BIG Problems?

How To Get Help When

You need it!

By Maureen Pollard

Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered social worker with a

private practice in Cobourg, Ontario. 

Growing up is amazing. You become more independent, you start to see the world in a different way and you have the chance to try new, exciting activities.

Growing up is also hard. You face difficult, sometimes scary experiences, you need to figure out how to solve problems and how to get along with people.

Everyone needs help sometimes. When something bad happens, or when you don’t know what to do next, you shouldn’t have to handle things alone. Sometimes, no matter how much they love you, your parents and your friends won’t know how to help. That’s when it’s time to consider counselling. Some people say that needing help makes you weak, when it really just means you’re human.

How to Find a Counselor:

  1. Ask an adult you trust to help you find a counselor. This might be a parent, grandparent or guardian, an aunt or uncle, a family friend, a teacher, a guidance counselor or your family doctor.

  2. Contact the Kids Help Phone

It takes a lot of courage to call a counselor and talk about your problems. Finding a good counselor for you is the most important part of getting help. 


Four Signs a Counselor is Right for You:

  1. The counselor pays attention, asking you questions and listening closely to your answers.

  2. The counselor accepts you as you are and does not make judgments about your situation or your problems.

  3. The counselor stays neutral: they don’t take sides, try to “fix” you or try to solve the problem for you.

  4. The counselor offers you choices and ideas about what might help you feel better or change your situation.


It can be hard to open up to a stranger, and at first that’s exactly what every counselor is. It’s a good idea to give yourself and the counselor some time to get to know one another. And you should know that it is a counsellor’s job to keep the information you share private. This means they won’t tell your parents what you talk about, unless you agree. A counsellor would only have to break your confidentiality and tell someone (your parents, police or the children’s aid society) if you or someone else is being hurt or at risk of being harmed.


It’s also important to know that talking about your problems stirs up difficult feelings and memories that you have tried to forget or push aside for awhile.In time, with the right counselor, it gets easier to face your problems and work to solve them in a new way that makes you feel stronger and more confident. 

Sometimes a problem is really big and feels dangerous; when this happens, you might need help right away. There is always someone who can talk with you about your problems. You can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text "CONNECT" to 686868 or download the Always There app to your iOS or Android device.

Remember to give yourself the time you need, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re worth it!

Check out our Resources page for more links and mental health/self-care apps.