Anxiety the leading mental health issue among Canadian children

Sara Dimerman, a Toronto-based psychologist, has seen a significant rise in anxiety in children at her clinic.

Public Health Agency of Canada health organizations say rates of anxiety in Canadian children on the rise

Children acting older than their age could lead to anxiety and other mental health issues according to Psychologist Sara Dimerman, (CBC)

Anxiety has been called the most prevalent mental health issue among Canadian children, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Sara Dimerman, a Toronto-based psychologist, said her practice has seen a surge of anxiety in children in recent years and believes there are many contributing factors. 

"Unlike when we were growing up, children are bombarded with second-by-second real time news events that are often catastrophic, and it's really hard to protect them from the information and images when social media is all about that," said Dimerman. 

School policies like fire drills and code red drills could also be contributing to the anxiety and the idea that the world is dangerous. 

Another factor, according to Dimerman is societal pressure and children growing up faster than they should. 

Children are growing up at an increasingly quicker rate than ever before.- Sara Dimerman

"Children are growing up at an increasingly quicker rate than ever before. Twelve-year-olds, for example, are engaging in activities more like that of 16-year-olds would when we were growing up," said Dimerman.

She said that children are not able to emotionally handle the shrinking years of childhood.

Children engaging in activities that are beyond their years or social skills can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and panic attacks.

"I think parents play a crucial role in helping children feel more or less anxious," said Dimerman. 

If you are a parent that has an anxious child, Dimerman believes that recognizing your child's fears and talking to them about it is an important first step. 

She also recommends not watching violent news around children, or leaving a 24-hour news channel on. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?