Stress and anxiety dominate health problems among children & youth, affecting hundreds of thousands of our youngest citizens. These are the findings being reported this week across the country to help mark Mental Health Week in Canada.
In Ontario it is estimated that 500,00 children and youth have a mental health problem; in BC that number is around 140,000, or about 15% of the population under 18 years of age.
Disorders being reported range from anxiety, depression and conduct disorder to eating disorders, psychosis and bi-polar disorder. Left untreated, these can lead to school failure, family conflicts, drug abuse and even suicide.
Some other facts pertaining to BC adolescents and teens in a recent report by the McCreary Centre Society (Unspoken Thoughts and Hidden Facts, A snapshot of BC Youth's Mental Health). Findings from McCreary Society), include:
- Ten percent of youth reported having a mental health or emotional condition
- Just over half of BC youth felt sad, discouraged, or hopeless within the past month,
- Seven percent of youth reported feeling despair on a level so extreme that it was difficult for them to move on.
- Six percent of BC youth attempted suicide one or more times in the past year.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst youth in BC and Canada
These numbers are, quite simply, staggering, and reflect an undeclared, national health crisis.
Assuredly, contributing to mental and emotional health problems among Canadian children and youth is the exposure, inadvertent or otherwise, to violent TV and radio newscasts by our mainstream broadcasters.
May 7th is Child and Youth Mental Health Day in Canada; please sign the Choose News petition to help reduce the violent content of TV and radio newscasting in this country, as a step to improving the mental health of our children and youth.
The Choose News petition is found here.