Message from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health on National Child and Youth Mental Health Day
May 7, 2022 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada
The mental health of young people has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the separation from friends and family and the impact of the restrictions to fight COVID have had on everything from school to recreation to job security, it's no surprise that so many young people continue to report an increase in stress, worry, sadness, and loneliness.
However, the pandemic has also made it easier and more acceptable to talk about mental health. We've seen more people, especially young people, coming forward to share their experiences and seek help. Going forward, it's essential that we keep up efforts to ensure children and young people know that they're not alone, and that it's ok to not feel ok.
This weekend, I will join Youth Mental Health March Canada to raise awareness about youth mental health and discuss how we are working together to end the stigma. Supporting the mental health and well-being of children and youth is a priority for our government, and we have worked with great youth-centered organizations like Kids Help Phone to help provide those supports. If you need help, you can find resources on the Kids Help Phone website.
We also invite youth of all ages and backgrounds to check out the Wellness Together Canada (WTC) portal and PocketWell app, which provide free, 24/7 information and supports, including one-on-one counselling, across Canada. In addition, the Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. When you are struggling, having the support of someone who has been there can be transformative.
As we close out Mental Health Week, it's important to highlight the critical work happening behind the scenes to support the mental health of young people in Canada. With leadership from the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, we created the COVID-19 and Mental Health Initiative to identify knowledge gaps related to COVID-19 and mental health. Over the past two years, this initiative has advanced much needed evidence on the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of children and youth. Most recently, CIHR and the Graham Boeckh Foundation came together to launch the Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks Initiative, which will fund research to help create cohesive systems for delivering mental health and substance use services for youth across Canada.
Health Canada is also funding the Improving Integrated for Youth Initiative – a pan-Canadian initiative that builds health standards and implementation tools aimed at improving the integration of youth mental health and addiction services. Health Canada is working with the Health Standards Organization and Frayme to build these tools with youth, families, providers, and community members.
While it's amazing to see the range of work being done to better support our youth, we have to continue prioritizing their mental health. This will empower them to gain awareness of their own well-being, and access the tools they need to support themselves and their peers.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and
Associate Minister of Health
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