‘Are you okay?’: Starting conversations about mental health

From The Globe & Mail

The Globe and Mail and We Charity have partnered to promote media literacy and education around global issues. This is part of a series of discussion guides and videos for parents and their children to read, watch and discuss together

Mental health is not defined simply by the absence of mental illnesses or disorders. Mental health involves a balance of the physical, mental and emotional state of being in which all individuals are able to live happy, productive lives, and cope with life’s normal stresses and negative experiences.

Sadly, that isn’t the case for more than three million young Canadians between the ages of 12 and 19, who are at risk of developing serious depression. And only one in five young Canadians who need mental-health services will receive the support they need.

“When children and youth don’t get the mental-health care they need, the consequences are immense,” Jane Philpott, Canada’s former health minister, has said. “Untold anguish, further mental illness and health-care costs, the inability to continue work or school programs, substance use disorders, violence and incarceration – plus the heartache of families who know something is very wrong, but feel desperate and powerless in the face of the suffering of loved ones.”

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