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Let’s talk about mental health with Bell

Clara Hughes, Howie Mandel and many  others are teaming up with Bell's Let’s Talk Campaign to raise money for and awareness of mental illness in Canada. Bell's Let’s Talk is a multi-year charitable program dedicated to mental health. Bell has committed over $67.5 million to support a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast to coast. 

Mental Health impacts everyone, here are some facts:

  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • 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.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • 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.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

Learn how you can add your voice to Bell’s Let’s Talk Campaign and make a difference for those suffering from a mental illness here.
Bell Let's Talk

 

On a budget for the New Year? Here is a free and easy way to support CHV!

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Thanks for supporting Covenant House Vancouver!

Covenant House is a place where youth can come to feel fully accepted

Gary was a new youth to Covenant House Vancouver and was struggling with some pretty significant mental health issues. When he first arrived at the Crisis Program there were some concerns about Gary’s mental health and how he would do in a communal living environment. He presented as a bit “odd”, had trouble reading others body language, and his boundaries with staff and other youth was at times challenging.

In the beginning, youth workers watched Gary closely and noted his behaviours as we really didn’t know what was happening for him. Over the first few days while he was in Shelter, several phone calls were made to community organizations previously involved with Gary. This resulted in us finding out that Gary had a diagnosis of Schizophrenia and was currently un-medicated. Once this information was discovered, Gary was quickly connected to a psychiatrist through the Inner City Mental Health Team and put back on his medication. Within a few days there was a notable difference in Gary. His conversations made more sense, he seemed more clear and his personality really had started to come out.

Today I had the opportunity to spend some extra one-to-one time with Gary.  We talked about a lot of things, with Gary’s main focus of conversation being getting a job. Gary spoke about how he was able to hold a job in the past and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t find a job yet, despite his best efforts in doing so. Then Gary made a comment that made my heart drop a little. Gary said to me with a sullen face, “I don’t think that people want to hire people like me...I’m not like everyone else I have Schizophrenia you know.”  We talked about what this meant to Gary. He described very eloquently how he at times thinks of himself as a mutant like that of an X-Men character. He went on to state that  like a mutant, he doesn’t fit into society and that he has to hide who he really is from others… concealing his mental illness for fear of being rejected and cast away into hiding. Gary asked me if I understood what he was telling me. I nodded my head in agreement and he continued talking.

Gary told me that because he felt this way he often felt very alone in the world. He spoke about the difficulties he had in making friends and how he was sad most of the time because of it. He put his head down on the table eventually and when I looked at him I could see some tears rolling down his cheeks. I comforted him by sharing with him that a lot of people have a mental illness and that often you would never even know it. I encouraged him to keep seeing his doctor and to stay on his medication as it seemed to be helping him. He smiled and nodded. Gary then switched the topic to showing me some pictures of the car he used to own and some pictures of his family, and then the conversation ended and Gary went about his business on the computer.

Today’s conversation with Gary really reminded me of the courage and insight the young people we support possess and reaffirmed for me that Covenant House really is a place where youth can come to feel fully accepted…whether they feel like an X-Men character or not.

acceptance

 

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