- Mental Health
- Substance Use
- Healthy Living
The stigma of mental health is often the reason why young people do not seek help when they need it. We know that mental health challenges and disorders often begin in the teenage years which makes early intervention extremely important. The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has launched a national anti-stigma campaign known as HEADSTRONG. This initiative connects community and government organizations with schools and youth and supports their efforts to reduce stigmatizing attitudes and behaviours in their community.
In November 2014, I attended the formal launch of HEADSTRONG at a national summit in Ottawa where 130 youth from every province and territory and regional youth summit coordinators all came together because of their interest in becoming catalysts for change. The goal is to build momentum across Canada through these champions. What was most amazing about this experience was meeting so many other individuals across the country also organizing youth summit events in their local communities. The energy of the event was vibrant and hopeful. It consisted of training, strategic planning and networking. I met with the leaders within MHCC, youth with lived experience, engaged school staff and other youth summit regional coordinators while sharing ideas, challenges and wins. I also met about a dozen BC youth that were super engaged with the idea of being influencers within their peer groups, school and community.
As part of this initiative, MHCC is supporting BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services in hosting an anti-stigma youth summit in BC. Our Balancing Our Minds youth summit is on February 12th, 2015. The theme this year is Everyday Champions of Wellness where a Champion of Wellness is defined as an individual who takes positive action to promote and support mental wellness in themselves, another, or the community at large. Whether it is utilizing wellness tools, decreasing stigma in your community, or simply asking a friend how they are doing we think that anybody can become a Champion of Wellness. There are many ways you can become a Champion of Wellness on any given day. More information on the event can be found at http://keltymentalhealth.ca/bom2015.