Early morning. I was sitting in the waiting room for my thrice weekly treatment at CAMH when the news broke of the death of Christopher Peloso, husband of former Ontario deputy premier George Smitherman. I immediately burst into tears. It just hit too close to home. I sat there clutching what felt like my zillionth mood survey. Bob Rae has since proposed a national plan on suicide prevention and Tim Powers has also commented on the need to treat mental health more tangibly. There are all these bureaucratic measures people want to take. These additional measures of support need to be provided, need to be put into place.
Everyone has a mental health to care for and often issues arise that make one vulnerable to being suicidal. Christopher Peloso was 40. Neither adults nor youth are untouchable. Recently the Toronto District School Board released the statistic that they are aware of about 700 suicide attempts in the 2012-13 school year. Did you know that suicide is the #1 cause of non-accidental death among youth?
As adults some of us have developed coping mechanisms that youth aren’t old enough to have cultivated yet. Sure, these coping mechanisms aren’t always the healthiest – but that’s a discussion for another day. The point is that when we’re young, we don’t have the support networks in place. The ground is unsteady. We haven’t figured ourselves out yet: who we are, what we like, the standards to which we hold outside influences.
And that needs to change.
This past fall, Partners for Mental Health launched the Right By You campaign, which focuses on bringing Canadians together in order to help youth getting the help they need in regards to the mental health issues that seriously affect them.
So, come on in! Participate in bringing more awareness and hopefully more bureaucratic change to funding youth mental heath support.
- Sign the petition. So quick! Show your support for the issue.
- Spread the word. Be it sharing a fact sheet on Facebook, gathering signatures for our petition, or hanging up a poster.
- Tell the government. Let your voice be heard. For change to happen, our local representatives need to hear from their communities.