Mental health issues are unfortuately becoming more prevalent among young Canadians yet resources to assist in dealing with these problems aren't as common. It's a troubling new reality in Canada, as more and more young people are left without help.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), a staggering 3.2 million young people aged 12-15 are at risk of developing mental health issues. Even more troubling, suicide in Canada is the second leading cause of preventable death as some 4,000 people die each year.
Indigenous youth are even more at risk as over a quarter of First Nations and Metis youth aged 15-30 reported having a mood disorder, according to Statistics Canada.
Despite these trouling facts, Canadian cities and government resources are often ill-equipped to adequately tackle this ever-present issue. Psychological help is expensive and isn't covered by our health care.
Young people also grapple with the potential shame of admitting their issues. The reality is, 1 in 5 young Canadians won't receive mental health services if needed.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or needs assistance in any way, please contact Crisis Services Canada by calling 1-833-456-4566 or texting 45645.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, over a quarter of young men and women reported experiencing at least some aspect of mood disorder or mental health issue. Some 60% of those individuals experience suicidal ideation. Young women have the highest rising rates of mood disorders in the country.
These facts are a sobering portrait of the reality of mental health in Canada. One of the best ways to tackle mental health is by seeing a psychologist but unfortunately, it's also one of the most expensive. A session can cost upwards of $250/hour.
There are plenty of solutions to this growing problem, though.
Some proposals have included expanding access to publicly funded therapy and providing more youth mental health care services at an earlier age. Initiatives like Bell Let's Talk and Canadian Mental Health Month (this month!) are good ways to begin the conversation.
De-stigmatizing the conversation about mental health issues is at the forefront of most public and privately funded initiatives. Though the statistics are troubling, young Canadians must try to identify mental health problems at an early age.
If you or a loved one suffers from mental illness, it's important to realize that you are more than just a statistic. The fact is, there are a lot of resources available that more than half of all Canadians still don't use due to a complex variety of factors.
Here are a few highly regarded resources that are available:
- Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)
- Centre For Suicide Prevention (1-833-456-4566)
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line (1‑855‑242-3310)
- National Eating Disorder Information Centre (1-866-633-4220)
For a complete list of resources, click here.
For more on how to reform mental health services, read this article by The Globe & Mail.