Early detection is key in youth mental health: Canadian Mental Health Association

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Early detection is key in youth mental health, says the Canadian Mental Health Association – Jan 30, 2019

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, approximately one in five children and youth in Ontario has a mental-health challenge. That’s why early intervention is so critical.

“The importance of it has been recognized more and more in the past 20 years. The reason for that is that things happen very quickly in the lives of youth,” said Gordon Langill, the director of programs and services at Canadian Mental Health Association.

“Their brains are changing, their living situation, their growth and development is very dynamic, so things can happen very quickly, things can go very badly, very quickly,” he adds.

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Langill says with the right help, we can prevent a life of unhappiness or of mental-health problems by intervening during early years.

READ MORE: Alberta youth discuss suicide more than any other topic on Kids Help Phone

In Peterborough and the surrounding area, there is a wide range of services for youth.

“For teenagers, Peterborough Youth Services, Kinark Child and Family Services, The Family and Youth Clinic at Peterborough Regional Hospital, Fourcast Addiction Services and Canadian Mental Health [Association], all of these organizations have great programming for youth,” said Langill.

But if you’ve tried to get help, you may have ended up on a long waiting list, according to Langill. Longer wait times are typically for more intensive services like long-term one-on-one counselling.

“However, there are a lot of other services like groups, or rapid response to a crisis, or a shorter-term intervention, you know, support immediately for a few weeks that are much more easy to access that have a very short to no waitlist,” said Langill.

READ MORE: Suicide prevention: What every parent needs to know

One such service is Peterborough’s Four County Crisis 24/7 Crisis Response Program.

“A phone line that people can call anytime, day or night, with any crisis that they may be experiencing.

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“When we’re talking about children and youth, often if there is a child in crisis or young person in crisis, there is a family in crisis so that young person or any member of their family can call the crisis line and explain what it is that they are going through,” said program manager for Four Counties Crisis Program, Jeffrey Cadence.

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