Youth Mental Health

Adolescence is a time of dramatic change. The journey from childhood to adulthood can be complex and challenging. Young people often feel tremendous pressure to succeed at school, at home and in social groups. At the same time, they may lack the life experience that lets them know that difficult situations will not last forever.

The mental and emotional health and well-being of youth is a serious and underserved Canadian health issue. At any given time, 15 per cent of our young people are affected by mental health issues, with 70 per cent of all psychiatric disorders emerging in adolescence.

PHE Canada, mindyourmind and the Boys and Girls Club of Canada have partnered under AstraZeneca’s Young Health Program (YHP) to help overcome this gap. The Young Health Program is the Canadian component of AstraZeneca’s larger global initiative to improve the health of vulnerable people around the world – now and into the future.

The YHP program is focused on fostering the emotional and mental well being of disconnected and vulnerable adolescents ages 10-19. Currently, only one in five young people who need mental health services receive them, and 70 per cent of mental health problems have their onset during adolescence. But we also know that 70 per cent of mental health cases that appear in youth can be addressed through early intervention.

Already, progress is underway.  Our fellow partnership organizations have developed and built upon existing materials to help reach youth where they are – online and on-the-ground - and advocate through networks to build awareness, knowledge and understanding about adolescent mental health. mindyourmind has created an online toolkit and mobile ‘mental health app’ for youth and youth serving practitioners that will support youth and youth serving practitioners. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada surveyed youth across Canada for their “Healthy Minds Start Here” research; this knowledge then formed the basis for their youth engagement initiative  presently being piloted. In efforts to support teachers in their role, PHE Canada is researching what training is in place in pre-service Education programs across the country.  The findings of this research will ground advocacy for development of improved mental health training for teachers.

More information about the Young Health Program can be found at www.younghealth.ca.

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