Victoria – Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, issued the following statement regarding World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10, 2018:
“Today marks World Mental Health Day — an opportunity for people around the globe to shed light on the importance of positive mental health.
“It is incredibly fitting that this year’s theme is Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World. As the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, child and youth mental health and wellness is a top priority as we build a strategy for seamless and integrated mental-health care in this province.
“There are too many young people around B.C. who are struggling to get the mental health and addictions support they desperately need. Parents and their children are trying to navigate a mental-health system that is disconnected and unco-ordinated, and that has to change.
“We know that almost 70% of serious mental-health issues start before the age of 25, and that mental health and addiction can often go hand in hand. We know that an estimated 84,000 young people between the ages of 4 and 17 are experiencing mental-health challenges in B.C. and that only one in three gets the support they need. And we know that Indigenous youth are over-represented and face greater challenges.
“I am truly compelled by the stories young people have shared with me about their struggles in the face of mental-health challenges. It is their stories, and their resiliency and courage, that have inspired thousands of people, organizations and communities throughout B.C. to stand up and speak out about the importance of positive mental health.
“It is these courageous conversations that mean so much when it comes to removing the shame that surrounds people living with mental-health challenges. Shame that looks different in different cultures. New Canadians can face additional challenges of isolation and too often suffer alone. Shame traps people and keeps them from reaching out. It is conversation tied to action that can change someone’s future — and someone’s life — for the better.
“Here in B.C., we are supporting Foundry Wellness Centres. It is a model that is making a world of difference in the lives of thousands of young people — people like Jenni. Growing up, Jenni struggled with mental-health challenges and watched her loved ones struggle as well. When she and her family needed help the most, it wasn’t easy to find and it wasn’t easy to access. But then, she discovered Foundry, a place with professional, compassionate people who listened and helped her along her healing journey. Now, Jenni is a peer support worker at Foundry Abbotsford and she said, ‘Foundry Abbotsford is what I needed when I was growing up. I have now gained a sense of purpose. I am truly a part of something bigger than just me.’
“It is because of vibrant people like Jenni that we are working so hard to create a network of integrated mental health and addiction services that work for everyone — where you ask once and you get help fast, and where every door is the right door. Where young people and their families can get help early — before small challenges become big ones.
“This World Mental Health Day, and every day, I ask all British Columbians to find the courage to connect with their loved ones, friends, classmates and co-workers, and to open their hearts and minds so we can create a province where mental health is recognized as an important part of wellness for everyone, and a province that supports everyone along their healing journey.”