VANCOUVER, BC – Youth & Families across Canada Create First Ever preliminary Consensus Statements on FamilySmart™ Practice for Child & Youth Mental Health in our Nation.
Over 200 people from 7 provinces across Canada gathered for 2 days in Vancouver on May 2 & 3 to create preliminary Consensus Statements on FamilySmart™ practice for Child & Youth Mental Health in Canada – a first in our Nation.
These statements are intentionally being released May 7th, National Child & Youth Mental Health Day – led by the by National Institute of Families for Child & Youth Mental Health and can be found at www.familysmart.ca.
Nearly five students in every classroom of 30 in Canada struggle with mental health challenges and the majority are not receiving adequate care, the leading national child and youth mental health advocacy organization says in marking Child & Youth Mental Health Day.
The Consensus Statements have included the voices of youth, parents, family members, caregivers, service providers, policy makers, educators and researchers. “Although the impact of mental health challenges deeply impacts children, youth and families, their voices and needs are rarely sought in a meaningful way,” said Keli Anderson, President and CEO of the Institute of Families for Child & Youth Mental Health. Ms. Anderson has firsthand experience as the mother of two young people with mental health challenges.
Youth in the room on May 2 & 3 stressed the importance of Action, Urgency, Role Modeling and Caring Adults. “We heard this loud and clear and it is represented in the Consensus Statements,” said Ms. Anderson.
2014 marks the fourth year the Institute of Families is leading May 7 activities across the country, to highlight this urgent issue and connect with kids to let them know that their mental health is important to us and as adults, we are there for them. A special video marking the May 7th initiative ‘I Care About You’, on IF Canada’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A38yFNYFvb4
After founding and leading a provincial advocacy organization for families, in British Columbia for a decade, Ms. Anderson says the Institute strives to bring family and youth voices and experiences across the country to policy makers, researchers, programs and practices related to this critical health issue.
For Ms. Anderson, co-founding the Institute of Families was extremely personal.
“The challenges are overwhelming,” she said. “Parents and young people often feel alone, judged, shamed, guilty and disempowered. The impact is deep.”
A backdrop to the conference was “ Changing the world takes more than everything any one person knows, but not more than we know together. So let’s work together.”
FamilySmart™ is about listening and empowering young people and families and working together with them to create the change that is needed for child and youth mental health in Canada.