Today starts Children’s Mental Health Week in Canada. Last year I wrote about the Canadian statics and the wait times. I even made an infographic to try and raise awareness. The Canadian statics scare me and to be honest they should scare any Canadian parent.
How does it impact youth?
- It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
- Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
- The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
- Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
- Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
- Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
- Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
- Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
- In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.
If you read my blog, you know my daughter had to wait 2 months to get a much needed mental health bed. She has still been able to access supports in the community where wait times average over a year.
I am thankful in my daughter’s case I was able to go a private route to ensure care and support was received but many Canadian children never see this.
Wait times for children needing mental health care have not met mandated guidelines for years and no one has made it a priority.
Should a child who is in a mental health crisis have to wait for a hospital bed?
Should a child have to wait over a year for community mental health supports that are deemed needed for stable mental health? Wait lists for Section 23 school spots in Toronto average 1 school year, and wait lists for programs that offer community supports for teens average over 1 year.
Should a child not be able to attend school for months at a time because of mental health issues? and receive no school support.
There is much to be done. With both provincial and federal elections looming lets make the mental health of our kids an issue. If you think it is important let your elected officials know.