Children. Energetic, bright souls that are filled with light. Do you remember playing outside as a kid with not a care in the world, running around with your friends, getting away with everything because we were “just kids”? Teenagers. Often categorized as lazy. Most are far from lazy, changing the world with their intelligence and big hearts. Busy being the face of the future. Imagine these children’s bright days turning into dark days because of the presence of a mental illness. Imagine the faces of our future afraid to change the world because of the stigma around mental illness. We don’t always see what hides behind these young eyes and that’s why we need to bring light and knowledge to this pressing issue, child and youth mental illness.
Maintaining mental health and wellbeing can be a rather hard task. On top of the struggles of keeping a healthy mental state, the problems associated with mental illness can very well be extremely debilitating. Mental illness can affect your overall health and also certain areas of your life, some including relationships, school, and physical health. The 3 most important aspects in a child’s and adolescent’s life. The prevalence of mental illness in youth and children seems to be vast and growing. As of 2015, data shows that a staggering 10-20% of children and youth in Canada will be develop a mental disorder before adulthood, that is an overwhelming 1.2 million children and youth within our country.
With the rising percentages of mental illness among children and youth, the awareness of the topic is still lacking. This is where I want to come in and help. Teaching children and youth about the importance of maintaining mental health and how crucial it is to get the help they need. In Canada, only approximately 1 in 5 children who need mental health services will actually receive the treatment they need. These results could possibly be from factors such as finance issues, the fear of the stigma around mental illness, or they are simply unaware of the resources they have around them. 28% of youth say they did not know where to go when faced with a mental illness issue. That is how important it is to let children and youth know there is help waiting for them. There are resources available that are capable of giving them the treatment they need. My goal is to be a mental health advocate for children and youth in Canada. I would like to inform not only children and youth, but parents on how significant it is to know the signs of mental illness in their child and how beneficial it is to seek help for their loved ones.
Just talking about suicide is hard but nothing comparable to being affected by it. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health provided me with some statistics that are absolutely mind-blowing, take a look:
- Almost 4,000 Canadians die of suicide each year, that’s about 11 per day
- In 2012, suicide accounted for deaths 17% of children ages 10-14 and 28% among 15-19 year olds
- 2012 data shows that in Ontario alone 12% of students reported having seriously contemplated suicide within the past year
This is heartbreaking to read for anyone. It makes us wonder how we can help so devastations like this can be prevented. Another reason why I would like to speak out for children and youth who are afraid to because of the stigma surrounding mental illness.
My ultimate goal is to not only make a difference in my own life where mental illness is a big issue but in countless lives of others around me. By getting involved after this pageant, I hope I can become a light in the lives of the people affected by mental illness, I wish to provide hope, support, knowledge, and most of all to provide love.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post about my platform, Child and Youth Mental Illness.
Goodbye for now!