During our teen years, there are many different changes to our bodies and minds. It can be a confusing time for everyone. Your family doctor is your non-judgmental source to answer all your questions.
With information at your fingertips, it can be easy to stumble upon incorrect or even scary health information. At McMaster Family Practice, we want to ensure the resources you use online are accurate and helpful. On this website, you will find trustworthy resources and various helplines which you might find useful. These sources have been tailored to the Hamilton Area to better suit your needs.
Should you need any clarification or further information, come in to see your family doctor. Our door is wide open! Remember that the information you provide to your family doctor is confidential, unless you pose an imminent risk to your own life or to the life of others.
Mental illness affects many Canadian youth – approximately 5% of young males, and 12% of young females. Once a mental disorder is recognized, help can make a big difference. If you feel like you are experiencing changes in your mood, worsening and debilitating anxiety, or strange thoughts or visions that others cannot hear or see, come in to see your family doctor for help. You can also use the resources below to get more information.
If you feel your safety is at risk, call 911 immediately!
COAST Hamilton’s crisis line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
http://coasthamilton.ca/?page_id=79 for more information on COAST for youth
Good 2 Talk
24 Hour Helpline for post secondary students
Kids Help Phone
24h Helpline for children and youth aged 5-20
Salvation Army Suicide Prevention Crisis Line
24h Crisis line
Barrett Centre for Crisis Support
Women’s Services: 905-523-6277
Mental Health Crisis Support:
St. Joseph’s Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Services
Emergency services for individuals experiencing mental health distress
stjoes.ca/hospital-services/mental-health-addiction-service 905-522-1155 ext 33243
Be Safe App
An app designed to help young make a decision about seeking help when in crisis
Mind Shift App
Free meditations – your introduction to mindfulness!
Youth and Wellness Centre (St. Joe’s)
A safe environment for young people age 17-25 to receive mental health and substance use care. Self referral.
Big White Wall
Online mental health service, providing creative outlets, anonymous support and online counseling.
Bounce Back Ontario
A NEW resource for individuals with depression and anxiety allowing for telephone coaching and skill building workbooks (for youth 15+, referral from primary care physician is required).
Everyone views their bodies differently. It can be difficult to know what’s real and what’s photoshop in magazines and on TV. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 3% of women are affected by an eating disorder in their lifetime. While it is more common in females, it can affect males as well. Eating disorders can present in many different ways and can involve over- or under-eating. If you feel like your pattern of eating is abnormal, contact your family doctor. You can also contact the local resource Body Brave to have an online or in person discussion about body image and your eating.
Book a free meeting online or email/call to discuss issues relating to body image and eating habits.
National eating disorder information centre:
HELPLINE 1-866-633-4220 (available 24/7)
According to the International Journal of Public Health, at least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied. Bullying can range from verbal insults and threats, to physical violence and now even takes place online.
If you are being bullied, there are resources you can turn to for help. The Kids Help phone line is available 24/7. You can also speak to a counsellor online Wednesdays to Sundays from 6pm to 2am.
“We think of counselling as a conversation with someone who you can trust, who won’t judge you, and who wants to help.”
Remember that telling an adult you trust is the first step to stopping bullying.
Deciding whether or not you’re ready for any form of sex can be scary, but it’s a decision that’s all your own. It’s important to be aware of different consequences of unprotected sex, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for all the questions you have about safe sex, contraception, or changes to your body in adolescence. The source we recommend at McMaster Family Practice is made by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. It has information on consent, pregnancy, contraception, STIs and much much more. If you need any clarification, ask your doctor!
There is no grey area when it comes to consent. No means no. If you have been sexually assaulted, there are people who can help. Talk to your family doctor or go the emergency room. The sexual assault centre in Hamilton has a 24 hour support line and offers counselling and more. We are here to support you.
Sexual Assault Centre in Hamilton:
Hamilton Public Health Sexual Health Clinics:
Clinics in multiple locations throughout Hamilton that offer sexual health services such as STI testing and treatment and contraception counseling.
Hamilton Women’s Clinic:
The Women’s Clinic provides compassionate and supportive care to women terminating a pregnancy. The clinic provides social work services, nursing assessment, birth control teaching, testing and follow-up for sexually transmitted infections, surgical abortion procedures, and medical follow-up
Alcohol use under the age of 19 is not legal in Canada. Despite this, we know that nearly 30% of individuals in Canada aged 18 and under report consuming alcohol.
Heavy drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks for men, or 4 or more drinks for women on one occasion, at least once/month in the past year. Many youth in Canada are binge drinking, with the most prevalent group being young adults aged 18-34.
If you think you are consuming alcohol in an unhealthy way and would like some more information, feel free to come into MFP to talk to your family doctor. You could also use some of the resources provided on our site here.
With the legalization of marijuana, potential regular marijuana use is an important area to address. As your healthcare providers, we would like you to be informed of all the potential impact marijuana use can have. This can include impaired memory and physical coordination, difficulty with attention, substance induced psychosis, anxiety, cannabis dependence and more.
For more information, read this helpful guide from the centre for addiction and mental health:
Canada’s lower risk cannabis use guidelines:
Canadian youth ages 15-24 have the highest self-reported use of recreational substances compared to other Canadians. Adolescence is a time when brains are undergoing many changes and development. The use of drugs can lead to harmful long term effects on the body, and may also lead to addiction and contribute to mental illnesses. If you are using recreational drugs and would like more information about trying to stop, please come in to see your Family Doctor at MFP for more information, or check out these resources for help finding counselling or other services that might be useful.
Alcohol, Drug, & Gambling Services Hamilton:
Alternatives for Youth – Drug and Alcohol Services for 12-22 year olds and their families:
Ontario Drug and Alcohol Helpline: 24/7 and confidential
According to recent Canadian statistics, between 10-18% of Canadian youth between the ages of 15-25 smoke cigarettes. E-cigarettes are a new device that many Canadians are now using, and their use is on the rise in Canadian youth. Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they may contain the addictive agent found in all cigarettes (nicotine), along with other chemicals. There is limited information about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes as they are new to the market. The negative effects of cigarettes are widely known, and include harmful effects to every system in your body, especially your heart and lungs.
- If you would like more information about that harmful effects of cigarettes, come in to see your family doctor at MFP. We also have special services dedicated to quitting smoking at our clinic if you would like some assistance!
Trans Community Health
Local clinic for trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Self-referrals are welcome.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans Youthline
Sleep is very important to the developing adolescent brain! Oftentimes youth do not get as much sleep as they need or have trouble with sleep. Sleep can be affected by stress, eating habits, mood and much more. An easy first step to gaining better energy levels is to follow simple tips to improve sleep hygiene (see handout below). If you have ongoing sleep issues despite optimizing your sleep hygiene, come in to see your family doctor to further discuss.
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