“Under the theme Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World, World Mental Health Day 2018 calls for global attention to the mental health needs of children and youth—a call echoed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).

In Canada, more than 70 per cent of adults living with mental health problems report their symptoms began in childhood or young adulthood. Yet fewer than 20 per cent of our children and youth receive the care they require. Once they do access supports and services, they are vulnerable to losing them when they transition to adult mental health services.

In its report, Strengthening the Case for Investing in Canada’s Mental Health System: Economic Considerations, the MHCC underscores that wise mental health spending on promotion, prevention and early interventions—especially among children and youth—pays dividends. We can help our youth build mental resilience from an early age to prevent mental distress and illness from taking hold as well as intervene early to provide supports and services and promote recovery.

Prevention begins with awareness and understanding fostered through training programs like Mental Health First Aid and The Inquiring Mind which help people recognize when they or someone else are in distress and gives them the confidence to reach out early—to help themselves or others.

Our young people are also vital leaders in transforming services, supports and systems to better meet their needs. More than 9,000 high school youth in Canada have attended HEADSTRONG anti-stigma summits to hear inspiring stories from their peers living in recovery from mental illness. They, in turn, have brought that message of hope and inclusion to their schools, reaching almost half a million fellow students.

On this World Mental Health Day, let’s help children and youth Be Brave, Reach Out and Speak Up.

Louise Bradley
President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada

Contacts
Mental Health Commission of Canada, Media Relations
613-857-0840 / media@mentalhealthcommission.ca

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