Breaking the silence, beating the stigma
In past issues of this magazine we have published countless stories on children with a wide range of medical conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and many others. Only infrequently do we publish stories on children and youth with mental illness. As we selected that theme for this issue, we were well aware that it would be challenging to find families willing to share their stories – and it was. More than anything, this speaks to the stigma that remains attached to mental illness, despite the best efforts of medical professionals, educators and community advocates.
Donors to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation help support the child and adolescent mental health programs offered by the hospital. These programs, housed in our child and adolescent mental health building adjacent to the hospital, provide treatment for children and youth from across the province with a range of mental illnesses.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates 20 per cent of Canadians will have developed some form of mental illness by the time they are 25. And, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 70 per cent of young adults living with mental illness report that the symptoms started in childhood. Early diagnosis of and treatment for mental illness gives young people the best chance of enjoying full and productive lives. With your support, we can help children from BC and the Yukon with mental illness gain access to the treatments they need.
Teri Nicholas, MSW, RSW
President & CEO
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
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