In April, I have been selected to take part in an instructor’s training certification course through the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Beyond my own basic Mental Health First-Aid, I will be certified to teach Mental Health First-Aid for those who work with youth ages 12-24. I am pretty chuffed about this opportunity! To be clear: I am not happy that mental health distress and disorders are on the rise in our young people, but rather, I am thankful for opportunity to make a difference through mental health literacy.
These are the facts for Mental Health in youth as found on the The Canadian Mental Health Association website:
- It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
- Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
- The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
- Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
- Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
- Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
- Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
- Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
- In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.
Clearly, it is time to TALK. Clearly, it is time to LEARN. Clearly, it is time to HELP.