It could be any of us. Any of our kids. Any of our nieces or nephews. Our grandkids. The students in our class. Our friends' kids. Our neighbours' kids. Our co-workers' kids. The list goes on...
The fact is, mental illness impacts more of us than we realize.
The reality is, one in five Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime.
Did you know that 10 to 20 per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder?
Sadly, only one out of five children who need mental health services receives them.
That is heartbreaking and unacceptable.
So many Canadian youth are struggling with depression and anxiety, and far too many aren't getting help. Too many young lives have been cut short.
Madeline Grace German Coulter was one of them. That is why today The Huffington Post Canada is launching Frame Of Mind, a new blog series inspired by The Maddie Project that will focus on teens and mental health.
The series aims to raise awareness and spark a conversation by speaking directly to teens who are going through a tough time, as well as their families, teachers and community leaders. We want to ensure that teens who are struggling with mental illness get the help, support and compassion they need.
More From Frame Of Mind:
- To Teens In The Darkness: Tomorrow Needs You, We All Need You
- How I Discovered My Strength In The Throes Of Mental Illness
- Why I Talk About My Depression (And You Should Too)
- Losing My Daughter Taught Me The Importance Of Empathy In Mental Health
- Understanding Teen Suicide Helps Make Sense Of The Heartbreak
Kicking off our conversation
The series is running over four weeks and today we start with a deeply moving blog from Glen Canning on his message to youth who are struggling and have lost hope. Mental health superhero Alicia Raimundo shares her inspiring story, and professional golfer Andrew Jensen explains why he talks about depression.
Nicole German writes about losing her daughter Maddie and why empathy is so important in mental health. Maddie's father, Chris Coulter, writes about the real pain of depression. We also have blogs on the heartbreak of teen suicide, the complicated teenage brain and many more important topics.
Why talk about it?
From time to time I hear people flippantly say, "That is sad, I don't want to read about that" or "That doesn't impact me." What many people don't realize is that avoiding reading about something or talking about it doesn't make the issue go away. I would argue that it contributes to the problem.
The propensity to avoid sadness and uncomfortable topics in society is akin to putting one's head in the sand. What good is it going to serve? How will that help people who are struggling? How will services improve? How will that move policies and funding forward?
It is only when we put ourselves in someone else's shoes and listen and empathize that we better understand their struggles, mindsets and frustrations.
The future is bright
Over the coming weeks, blogs in our series will be addressing symptoms of depression and anxiety, mental health in the classroom, bullying, the link between social media and depression, tips to protect your child's mental health, suicide prevention and many more topics.
Carol Todd, Kids Help Phone, The Canadian Mental Health Association, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, former Olympians Silken Laumann and Ian Warner, parenting expert Alyson Schafer, teachers, psychologists, counsellors and dozens more will be sharing their stories, perspectives, words of advice and inspiring messages of hope.
It is blogs at their best. Personal, insightful and inspiring.
We hope you enjoy the series and learn more about how you can help teens who are struggling. Please follow along, comment, share and join the conversation.
It truly has been a passion project for us here at HuffPost Canada. Thanks to all those who have contributed to the series. Talking about youth mental illness and suicide prevention isn't easy, but our bloggers have done so with so much grace, bravery, honesty and compassion.
They have shown that we can only truly understand one another and better understand youth mental illness when we respect each other's Frame Of Mind.
If you would like to contribute a blog to Frame Of Mind, please email firstname.lastname@example.orgALSO ON HUFFPOST:
One in five Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime Source: Canadian Mental Health Association
Nearly half of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem. Source: CMHA
Latest studies showed more than 1.3 million young Canadians have a mood disorder or addiction. Two-thirds had symptoms before the age of 15. Source: Statistics Canada, Government of Canada
Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15- to 24-year-old Canadians, second only to accidents. In 2012, 261 Canadian kids and teens took their own lives. Source: CMHA, Statistics Canada
LGBTQ youth face about 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers Source: CMHA Ontario
First Nations youth are at a higher risk. The suicide rate among First Nations youth is roughly five to seven times higher than that of the general population. Source: Parliament of Canada study, 2014
People with mental illness and addictions are more likely to die prematurely than those without. Mental illness can cut 10 to 20 years from a person’s life expectancy. Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Contending with her bipolar disorder brought Yashi Brown to poetry, and with it, she's trying to end the stigma of mental illness.
If you need help, visit ementalhealth.ca to search for services in your area. Or call the Kids' Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, it's Canada's only free phone counselling service for youth under 20.
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