April 21, 2005

BOOKS / PRESS RELEASE: Wishes and Worries: A storybook to help children understand a parent's problem with alcohol (CANADA)

Wishes and Worries: A Story to Help Children Understand a Parent Who Drinks Too Much Alcohol

Released April 20, 2005

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2005 - Toronto - Children have lots of questions when someone in their family drinks too much alcohol. Sometimes they just don't have the answers and alcohol problems often become the family secret that nobody talks about. To help children understand their parents' problems with alcohol, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, (CAMH), has recently published the first storybook of its kind developed in Canada, called Wishes and Worries.

"Children tend to have worries and fears when someone in their family drinks too much alcohol. When children don't get accurate information, they often come up with their own wrong and sometimes frightening conclusions," says Dr. Bruce Ballon, a psychiatrist in CAMH's Youth and Addiction program. "Encouraging children to communicate will help them feel less confused and alone. This book can be used as a tool to start that conversation."

Research conducted by CAMH has shown that children have many questions about their parents' substance use or mental health concerns, but there was a lack of resources to help explain these problems to children.  To help solve this problem, CAMH began a series of children's storybooks in 2002 starting with Can I Catch it Like a Cold, a storybook to help explain a parent's depression. Wishes and Worries is the second book in this series.

Wishes and Worries is written for children aged 5 to 10 years old, for use by parents, extended family, teachers and professionals who want to address the impact of a parent's problem with alcohol in children's lives.  The book answers children's questions such as: "Does dad drink so much because of me?," "Is dad's drinking problem going to get worse?," and " Is my family different?" 

Wonderfully illustrated by Ben Hodson, this new storybook explores alcohol problems through the story of Maggie, an 8-year-old girl who wishes and worries that her father doesn't ruin her ninth birthday party the same way he ruined her last birthday. Maggie discovers that her father drinks too much alcohol, and through the help of family, friends, and professionals, Maggie gains a better understanding of her father's problem.

Copies of Wishes and Worries are now available from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for $9.95 at 1-800-661-1111 (or 416-595-6059 in Toronto). An accompanying information brochure for adults is also available. The storybook will soon be available at selected bookstores. Information on addiction and mental health issues can be obtained by calling CAMH's 24-hour Information Line at 1-800-463-6273 or in Toronto at (416) 595-6111.

CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre and a teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Media contact: Sylvia Hagopian, CAMH Media Relations Co-ordinator, (416) 595-6015

Wishes and Worries the storybook for children is available in English. The accompanying information brochure for adults is available in both English and French.

SOURCE: http://www.camh.net/news_events/wishes_worries_pr0405.html
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