Helpthe1in5 Helping to Celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week
1 in 5 children and youth will be affected by a mental health challenge in their lifetime. In Simcoe County, that statistic represents 31,118 children and youth.
Each year one week in May is designated as Children’s Mental Health Week across the Province of Ontario. This week provides local children’s mental health organizations, along with their partners, the opportunity to highlight the work they are collectively doing in their communities. For 2013, Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada will be May 5th to May 11th. Coordinated at the provincial level by Children’s Mental Health Ontario (www.kidsmentalhealth.ca ), over 85 member agencies will schedule many different activities to create awareness of mental health issues among our children and youth, and make inroads in reducing the stigma associated with mental health challenges.
New Path Youth and Family Services, an accredited children’s mental health organization serving all of Simcoe County has been involved in coordinating awareness activities each year during Children’s Mental Health Week. This past year for example, New Path worked with school and community partners to host awareness walks in the communities of Barrie, Collingwood, Orillia, Stroud, Adjala, Beeton and Bradford with over 5000 children, youth and adults participating. Local media coverage was supported by stories appearing in the local newspapers, a one hour interview with New Path on Rogers Community Television and a flag raising ceremony and proclamation of the week by the Mayor in Barrie. All in all, a strong foundation was built on which New Path is continuing to develop as we begin the process of planning what has become known as the “Children’s Walk for Mental Health in Simcoe County”.
For 2013 New Path will once again partner with local community partners and schools across Simoce County to hold awareness events on the importance of destigmatizing mental health issues. Working closely with local school board principals, a few schools have been identified in each community to participate in the week by holding a “Walk for Children’s Mental Health”. Events at these schools – identified below – will include a variety of activities with a focus on raising awareness and providing information to those looking for additional support. From personal story telling, creating banners, placards and display boards, walking and enthusiastically getting the word out that 1 in 5 young people are affected by mental health challenges, children and youth will join together with adults to raise the awareness of this very important issue.
As a way to engage our community, raise awareness and support ongoing anti stigma efforts we have encouraged all our local media partners to participate in any of these walks and provide much needed coverage for this important issue.
New Path through its commitment to Helpthe1in5, along with its school partners and community will be holding walks throughout Simcoe County to raise the awareness of the importance of children’s mental health as follows:
- Tuesday May 7th at Terry Fox Elementary School in Barrie @1:45pm;
- Wednesday May 8th at Cookstown Elementary School in Cookstown @ 2:05pm (Wendy Adams, a local stock car who lost her son due to mental health issues will be at the walk along with her car promoting suicide awareness and encouraging youth and parents that there is support);
- Wednesday May 8th at Stayner C.I. in Stayner @ 9:30am (includes grade 7/8 students from Byng and Clearview Meadows Elementary Schools);
- Wednesday May 8that Jean Vanier Catholic High School in Collingwood @ 9am (includes a flash mob and students from Collingwood Collegiate and local elementary schools;
- Thursday May 9th at Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia @ 1:15pm (Wendy Adams, a local stock car who lost her son due to mental health issues will be at the walk along with her car promoting suicide awareness and encouraging youth and parents that there is support);
- Friday May 10th at Alcona Glen Elementary School in Alcona @ 11:10am; &
- Friday May 10th at W.H. Day Elementary School in Bradford @ 2pm.
We hope that you will join us.