Let's Create Change
Updated: Jun 24
School has always been super stressful for myself dealing with peer pressure,grades,physical and mental health, and dealing with family issues. It’s a lot to deal with and I know I’m not the only one. While I was in my first year of university this year, I l found that there was not enough support and resources available for mental health. Having anxiety made it harder for me to reach out or help create change at my university.
We need to change this, for a better understanding in the education system surrounding mental health.
An estimated one in five young people has a mental illness, including substance use problems. Half of all cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/transforming-mental-health-for-children-and-youth
Mental health education I believe should be mandatory in schools. All staff at schools should have mandatory monthly training and understand the signs so they can be support for their students and staff members.
We need to start focusing on a healthy social, emotional and behavioural development of students in schools.
We need open discussions before we start class to talk about how we are feeling.
Personal grades have always been stressful, with trying to achieve “great” marks, but why are we defined by a number on a test,report card,assignments. There is always another way of accessing how much we know.
I never had the support in my high school because no one would listen and living in the fast-paced western world does not help.
In Canada I believe we have a good healthcare system, but yet not enough is done for mental health.
This is just one of the problems within the mental health system in Canada, being that rural areas are often neglected with mental health resources and specialists.
The average number of psychiatrists practicing per 100,000 people in Ontario was 13.1; however, in north west Ontario, the rate was only 3.3 psychiatrists per 100,000 population. https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/rural-and-northern-community-issues-in-mental-health/
Let’s bring speakers to our schools to talk about mental health and hear from people who dealt with struggles surrounding mental health.
Students, we have a voice, let’s use it.
Here are some ideas to get started:
Start creating a group at your school for mental health
Create a facebook group/support group
Talk to teachers about creating a safe space for mental health in the classroom
Watch TED talks
Look at resources and information on the Peace of Mind Canada website
Give ideas to teachers for projects surrounding mental health such as; researching facts,searching a famous person who has a mental illness, examine mental health through social media
While talking with the youth-led organization,The Paris Project; I asked them a few questions about mental health at schools and these were their responses.
1. What resources should schools have more of for mental health?
“Having more mental health professionals within the school. There are numerous statistics about the lack of mental health professionals within schools and how this is counter-intuitive to students receiving mental health support. Other resources that can support mental health in schools are integrating mental illnesses, mindfulness, and other psychological classes into the (in most cases) legally mandated health classes.”
2. Why is mental health Important?
“It can affect how we think, feel, and even act. It’s a vital part of your life; everyone should have a focus on mental health despite age, race, sexuality, or nationality since every human being has mental health. To maintain good physical health, we need good mental health since mental health can affect sleep, metabolism, and other aspects of physical health. Even if you personally have a healthy mental health, everyone can make improvements in terms of mindfulness, peace of mind, and focus levels, which directly affect everyday life.”
3. How to support someone dealing with mental illness?
“First off, it is important to learn some of the signs and symptoms of their mental illness, and if they have begun any medications it is important to learn the side effects of this too. This is very important because it shows the person in your life that you care about them and their diagnosis, sometimes after people receive a diagnosis they feel at peace, but sometimes they feel even more confused and alone than they did before.This leads a bit to the second tip, pay attention to your friend, ask them how they are feeling, and try to know if something is bothering them, family and friends may be the first to see signs of improvements or challenges when people are on a mental health journey.”
4. How can youth help create change?
“Creating change can be posting things on social media about the things you have learned when you began researching your cause. This may seem simple, but it can cause a lot of impact on the followers you have. I did a similar campaign on my Instagram, and I got dozens of responses from followers of mine telling me how the information I provided was beneficial to them in some way. Spreading accurate information about mental health, or any cause you choose to associate with, can be so helpful to those around you and create a major change. There is no project too small when wanting to create change! Beyond that, if you would like to create more change try to reach out to nonprofits online and see if there are ways that you can help their mission. This can be something like a share on your social media, helping them raise money for a campaign, or taking part in one of their campaigns and advertising it to friends.”
Check the_paris_project out! https://instagram.com/the__paris__project?igshid=v4but3yq9xjf
Thanks for reading!