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It is clear that strenuous efforts need to be made to prevent mental illness as well as to cure it. And here, the universities need to look hard at themselves, and at their part in creating the problems they now seek to solve, for they exercise profound influence over the high school years of the students they admit.
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Too short, too tall, flat, too skinny, too fat, too veiny, too short hair, way too long hair, too many piercings, boobs that are too big, too many pimples, too many freckles, too hairy, bad teeth, too much makeup, caked, ugly clothes, out of shape, bad at sports, fag. Here is just a taste of some of the things teens say to put their peers down.
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The silence and the stigmas that surround mental health makes this place that much darker, and that much scarier. If we open up the conversation, we can ease the guilt and shame that comes with having a mental illness -- it's as if battling with your own mind wasn't already hard enough.
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There's a serious gap in the health-care system when it comes to treating patients with obsessive compulsive and related disorders. And limited knowledge is to blame. Most community doctors aren't fully informed on the ways to diagnose and treat OCD and related disorders, and patients are often going undiagnosed for years.
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They'll reap so many benefits.
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Finding mental health help for youth and their families should be simple, but it can actually be complicated and confusing. Which professional will be most helpful? Which program will provide the appropriate services? Sometimes there seem to be too many options and you may not know where to start. To make things more challenging, you may be directed from door to door to door, making it feel like no one wants to let you in.
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If there is someone reading this who is in that dark place of having a plan -- a plan of how they want to exit this life and when they want to exit it. Please wait and listen to me when I tell you that these thoughts are not with you forever. I know they are excruciatingly painful, but they do pass. I promise you they pass. I promise you are worthy, and that you are not alone. You are loved. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are brave.
There is so much pressure on these kids to not only thrive and compete but to be perfect. And our sense of balance is gone. Competition and excelling is good but what about having fun? Commitments are skewed. Genuine, quality family time is compromised because parents are stressed, pressured and rushing to get their kids to and from programs and to do too many things at the same time.
Suicide is hard. It is hard to even say the word let alone imagine that someone close to you might think that is the only path forward is to take their own life. It's hard to relate, surreal on many levels. But take a minute to imagine. Imagine losing one of the people you love the most by suicide. Does your stomach drop, your heart race, tears come to your eyes or even fear race through your bones?
In my family, we do our best to be open about it. We share with each other and talk openly about the challenges and struggles surrounding mental health -- challenges that have touched our family directly, and the families of countless Canadians. The conversation can sometimes be uncomfortable or difficult, but it is too important to let that stop us. We work hard every day to try to reduce and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. In order to recover, we must be willing to find and accept help. We can have conversations with our family and friends, even when it is difficult to do so. Some of you may not have families who are available or open to conversations about mental health, but that does not mean you are alone.
On the night of Tuesday April 28, 2009 our son died by suicide. As the shock lifted we began the agonizing process of trying to comprehend our new reality. Our 23-year old son had lived with a robust disease that had been brewing for years. He was a strong, intelligent young man; however, even he could not see where his path was headed. Mental illness is a formidable foe. Our tragedy is his absence from our ordinary lives. We are now referred to as survivors. What exactly we are surviving is unclear. We are broken in so many places; trying to put the puzzle that was our life back together. Only now, the pieces do not match.
Our daughter Maddie tragically took her own life at the tender age of fourteen and forever changed the lives of our family and friends.... Maddie's Mom, our boys and friends have made it a personal mission to tell our story, bring greater awareness to youth mental illness and help create better access for those families currently affected by this troubling disease. With all this attention being paid to this illness, largely promoted through the likes of social media, are we fuelling the fire and putting the idea of suicide in our youths' heads?
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Mental illness is a very real and ever-present issue in my family. My wife suffers from bi-polar disorder and depression is prevalent in her family. The heredity of mental illness scares the life out of me Maddie. I am constantly looking for signs of it in my children. I've yet to really see any, but the scary part is sometimes you don't.
The way we care for people with mental illness, isn't world class, and it's rarely quick. It's even worse for our kids. Or at least, because it's about kids, it feels worse. If your child is diagnosed with a mental illness, the neighbours don't rally the same way they would for cancer.