Statement from Mental Health and Addictions Critic Jane Thornthwaite on World Mental Health Day

MLA Jane Thornthwaite in Victoria May 17, 2018. Photography by John Lehmann

“Today we remove the stigma of mental health and say to those who suffer ‘I am here for you.’ We as British Columbians, as Canadians, and as global citizens are part of defeating the stigma of mental health.”

“This year, the World Health Organization is highlighting mental health in teens. Mental health conditions account for 16% of total disease and injury in those 10-19 years old. Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. It is key that we begin conversations with our children early and continue to have those conversations often. Our society and our world are facing the ever rapidly expanding use of online technologies, which while bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures and struggles as our connection to others during all hours of the day grows.”

Programs such as Foundry BC are key to addressing mental health, and should continue to be expanded. Our school system is the front line in helping our children, and providing resilience and coping skills to youth in the school system is vital to preventing issues later on.

The Canadian Mental Health Association encourages us to think of mental illness in a similar fashion to physical illness and to seek help right away. Part of eliminating the stigma around mental health being able to acknowledge when we need help.

On World Mental Health Day, we all have a role to play in supporting youth with their mental health. We have a duty to help those who struggle with mental health issues, and we need to stand together.

 

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