Some specific information is helpful to the person you have approached for help. Here are some things to have on hand, or to consider, before you make a call. (Remember, you can always call 911 in an emergency, and you will be assisted immediately)
- The full name of both yourself and the child or teen you are calling about.
- The age of the child or teen you are calling about. This might be important should consent for treatment be required. You do not need consent to provide information in any emergent situation. Consent is also not required for basic assessment purposes – you can describe the situation causing concern, and receive information on the best place for you to seek help.
- The child or teen’s current address, and other basic data– the name of the school attended, name of the family physician if you have one, or involvement with other agencies or resources such as a counsellor or Child Welfare Agency.
- A Manitoba Health Services Card number – this is the purple card issued with the family name, and all dependents listed. There should be a 6 digit number on the front of the card, and a 9 digit number on the back beside each family member name. If you do not have this at the time of calling, it can be obtained later, so please proceed with calling anytime you are concerned.
- If it is not you, the name of the legal guardian of the child or teen you are calling about. The legal guardian will need to be involved as help progresses – possibly to consent for treatment, or to provide transportation, additional information or other assistance.
- A recent history of the concern you are calling about. For example, if you are concerned that a child or teen may be contemplating suicide, you will be asked the reasons for your concern. Recent actions, statements, changes in behaviour, increased use of drugs or alcohol, recent legal charges or changes in living situation are all examples of information that might be important.
- Other history information such as previous involvement with health services, or any previous hospitalizations, major health problems or concerns.
- If earlier child development is your concern, try to organize your information by age and stage. Developmental milestones can be helpful in determining any further assessment that may be needed.
Try to keep in mind that you may be asked to provide the same information more than once, especially if you are approaching one or two places for assistance. Though this may seem frustrating, it will help to determine the best resource or service for you and your family. Good, consistent information will assist the provider in giving you the best direction, and hopefully the best help possible.