Approximately one in five children and youth in Ontario has a mental health challenge. Mental health issues often begin at a young age — about 70 per cent of mental health challenges have their onset in childhood and adolescence. Early identification and intervention leads to improved school achievement and better health outcomes.
The most common mental health issues for children and youth are:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) – also known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- mood disorders
- eating disorders
Many of these disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, mood and eating disorders can be helped by learning coping skills, by having someone to listen and believe in them until they can believe in themselves. We have created a world where youth don’t even have to speak to each other in whole words to have a conversation. They will be sitting beside each other texting.
I see parents on the bus or walking down the street with their toddlers or young children and they are so engrossed in their Iphone or smartphone that they forget to interact with their child. If we took the time to let them talk, to listen to them we would know why they are anxious, depressed, and have disordered eating, sleeping and moods. If we let them see the potential that they have and the talents they possess, they would feel more confident and have more direction. If we let them talk out their fear…to work through them they will be stronger and more confident now and throughout life
I wish we had more leadership programs for youth, to help them cope with life around them. Youth have shootings and stabbings, gang violence and relationship violence, bullying and peer pressure, family and economic issues and we take so little time to help youth cope with it all. Life skills, self-esteem and character building so that they can create the world and life that they want…
Knowledge takes away fear. If a student goes into an exam in school having studied and practised then they are not as scared as walking in having never opened a text book. If we give them coping skills, and self confidence, opportunities to practise and the ability to make good choices then they will be more prepared for anything they face in life.