Breaking the stigma of mental illness in youth.
Young people today face enormous pressure to excel at school and secure a well-paying job. With our skyrocketing rental and housing prices, precarious employment and intense competition, the challenges to succeed are daunting. Not to mention the added stress caused by the fear of poverty, homelessness and addiction issues.
Research shows that young Canadians are feeling the pressure and it’s affecting their mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 10 to 20 per cent of youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder. A staggering 3.2 million 12 to 19-year-olds are at risk for developing depression. Besides depression, mental illness can show itself as anxiety, stress, excessive worrying, panic attacks and eating or sleeping disorders.
Over the past several years, public awareness and discussion about mental health issues have increased significantly. Green Shield Canada, a not-for-profit that works to make health care accessible to all Canadians, is creating a positive impact by supporting agencies that provide mental health resources.
One such agency is Horizons for Youth, an emergency shelter for youth ages 16 to 24. The organization’s mission is to shelter, prepare and guide at-risk youth to be contributing community members. Programs available include enhanced case management, day programming, housing, and community support services.
“We estimate that 85 per cent of our clients struggle with mental health challenges,” says Stacey Murie, Horizons for Youth’s Development Associate. “We spend a lot of energy getting our clients to open up and talk about their struggles. We strive to normalize mental health challenges so they can get the specialized help they need.”
SOURCE: News Canada