Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux and Parliamentary Secretary for Child Mental Health and Anti-Bullying Jane Thornthwaite released the following statement to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Child and Youth Mental Health Day in British Columbia, which is May 7, 2016:
“Child and Youth Mental Health Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges that many young people are facing and to remind them and their families that help is available.
“Currently, 12.6 per cent – or one in eight young people – may be facing a mental-health challenge at any given time in British Columbia. That translates into about 84,000 children and youth, aged 4 to 17 years, who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
“More than 27,000 of those children and youth are receiving specialized community-based mental-health services through the Ministry of Children and Family Development; however, many young people don’t seek the help they need due to the social stigma still surrounding mental health.
“In order to reduce the stigma, the B.C. government continues to work across ministries, with local governments, communities, service providers, organizations and individuals to change how people think about mental health.
“The earlier we identify and treat mental-health challenges, the easier it is for children and youth to get back to leading happy and productive lives. That’s why having school-based programs like FRIENDS are helping children to learn how to identify, manage and cope with anxiety and other stressors.
“It is also important to know the signs and symptoms of potential problems. Here are some red flags that a child or teen may be facing one or more mental-health challenges:
- Their school marks start to decline.
- They begin to avoid friends or family.
- They have frequent outbursts of anger.
- They have trouble sleeping.
- They are obsessed with their weight.
- They are worrying constantly about school or social situations.
- They are harming themselves or bullying others.
“Once a child or youth experiencing mental health challenges feels ready to reach out, there are many supports available in communities throughout the province to help them get back on track. There are programs and services, including Aboriginal-specific mental health supports, to help young people create the bright and happy future they deserve.”
“Today is about supporting children and youth to deal with these challenges and open up the conversation about ways to minimize the stigma. Our children and youth are the future of this province. Please join us in embracing all aspects of health for B.C. children and youth.”
For more information on child and youth mental-health and substance-use supports and services in B.C., visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childteenmentalhealth
Or check out our comprehensive factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/08390