Talk to your children about mental health

  • Aug. 20, 2014 8:00 p.m.

By Suzanne Venuta

Special to The Record

As the summer months fly by, we start to notice that the nights are becoming shorter, mornings are cooler and shadows are getting longer.

Things start to shift and all too soon the summer that will be, becomes the summer that was. Many of us start to set our eyes on new goals and directions.

For some, this means sending our children off to high school and post-secondary education.

This can be an exciting time in their lives with dreams and goals. A time of exploring and belief that all things are possible. It may also be a time of trepidations.

And for some, it will be a time of encountering mental health issues for the first time in their life.

When they were younger, we taught them about road safety, strangers, and to wear a helmet while riding their bikes.

As we buy them supplies, clothes and assorted various other items to put in their care packages, we need to add one more thing along with our love.

We need to send them off with the correct information on mental health.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, “One in four youth will experience a mental health issue. The great majority of mental health issues occurs during adolescence and 70 per cent of young adults living with a mental illness report having symptoms before age 18. Youth 18-24 are most likely to suffer from mood disorders, substance abuse and more likely to commit suicide.”

But there is good news. There is help and the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome.

For the last two years I have been educating and advocating to various youth groups about mental health. They are bright, intelligent and articulate. They are our future, and some of them are struggling. After each presentation there are always some students that come up and talk to me of their struggles and fears around the mental health of themselves, a friend or family member. For some, this is the first time they have ever spoken about it.

Sure it may be scary to talk to our children about mental health issues. But by creating an open and respectful dialogue we give them another very important tool to help and support them for the rest of their lives.

With the right information and understanding we can help them reach their dreams and work towards making all things possible. Like wearing the bicycle helmet, it does not mean they will fall off their bike and bang their head, but it is there to protect them if they do.

Having a mental illness is not a character flaw, and with the correct diagnoses and treatment one can have a very fulfilling life. I am proof of that.

Undiagnosed mental issues cost the individual and society at large. We all pay the price.

Let’s educate this up-and-coming generation so that they don’t have to pay the price. If we don’t, some will pay with their life.

For more information visit the following Mental Health Commission web pages:

bit.ly/1e44VTJ

bit.ly/XWTGN2

 

 

Suzanne Venuta is a mental health educator/advocate living in the Comox Valley

 

Just Posted

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Liquor store robbery suspect arrested

The Comox Valley RCMP have identified the suspect in relation to the… Continue reading

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Most Read