PEI

The 4th R: Teaching adolescents about healthy relationships

Delegates at a conference in Charlottetown this week will hear details on a program that adds developing healthy relationships to the school curriculum for adolescents.

Program takes a positive approach building relationships

The Fourth R focusing on encouraging teens to build healthy relationships. (sharshonm/Shutterstock)

Delegates at a conference on youth mental health in Charlottetown this week will hear details on a program that adds developing healthy relationships to the school curriculum for adolescents.

Relationships become much more complicated when children become adolescents, says Claire Crooks, director of the Centre for School Mental Health at Western University. (Angela Walker/CBC)

"We really need to teach children how to have positive mental health, as clearly as we teach them how to read," Claire Crooks, director of the Centre for School Mental Healt at Western University, told Mainstreet P.E.I.

Crooks is a keynote speaker at the Symposium on Child and Youth Mental Health being held at Holland College. Crooks helped develop the Fourth R program, currently being used in many schools across Canada, that teaches a healthy approach to relationship building.

'Think about what healthy relationships look like'

"Instead of saying 'Don't do drugs,' 'Don't hit your dating partner,' to really have them think about what healthy relationships look like," she said.

"When kids hit adolescence the rules really change for them. The relationships and the different relationships are much more complicated than they were when kids were younger."

The program includes how to talk to your friends about mental health, how to make judgements on what you can handle on your own, as well as when to get help and how to get it.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.