Partners for Mental Health and the Hon. Michael Kirby announce plan to help reduce youth suicide rates in Canada for $1000 a child - Suicide is the leading cause of non-accidental death for young Canadians

TORONTO, Oct. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, Partners for Mental Health and the Hon. Michael Kirby, former Mental Health Commission Board Chair, launched the Right By You campaign to draw attention to the fact that Canada is failing to meet the mental health needs of our children and youth with devastating consequences like youth suicide. The campaign points out that better mental health for Canadian children can be achieved for only $1,000 per child.

Only 25% of Canadian children who require mental health services receive them today. The Right by You campaign calls for provincial governments to double the number of children receiving mental health services, treatment and support by the end of 2016.

The campaign also calls on the federal government to invest $100 million over 4-years in a newly created National Youth Suicide Prevention Fund ("the Fund") to provide matching funds for youth suicide prevention initiatives and programs across the country.

"After working on mental health reform in Canada for over a decade, I am convinced the single most important issue facing the mental health system is the two-tier system of care for children and youth needing mental health services, treatment and support. We must address it immediately" said the Hon. Michael Kirby.

In Canada, suicide is the leading cause of non-accidental death for young Canadians. Every year there are approximately 762 young Canadians, equivalent to the size of a small high school, who die by suicide. Almost all of them will have a mental illness, such as depression.

The Right By You campaign is designed to encourage Canadians to lend their voice and take action to secure greater funding for children and youth mental health services, treatment and support. Partners for Mental Health believes every child and youth living in Canada should have access to help as soon as the need arises, regardless of their family's ability to pay for those services.

"There can be tragic consequences when we are unable to provide sufficient mental health services, treatment and support to our children and youth," said Simon Davidson, Chief, Department of Psychiatry, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). "Being on the front lines of this issue, I see the number of children needing help increase year over year. The current funding and services available are not able to meet the demand and we need governments to act now. The lives of many children and youth in Canada depend on it."

About Partners for Mental Health
Partners for Mental Health is a national, charitable organization dedicated to transforming the way we think about, act towards and support mental health in Canada. Partners for Mental Health aims to mobilize millions of Canadians to drive change by participating in campaigns, events and activities including influencing policy, volunteering and fundraising.

Learn more about the Right by You campaign and Partners for Mental Health.

SOURCE: Partners for Mental Health

For further information:

James Kenny
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
613-786-9958
James.kenny@hkstrategies.ca

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