OTTAWA, Aug. 10, 2018 /CNW/ - On August 12, International Youth Day, we are reminded that affording young people the opportunity to gather in safe places, be they physical or virtual – to share their thoughts, feelings and concerns – is vital. This is especially true when it comes to fostering dialogue around mental health and wellness.
The mission of the Mental Health Commission of Canada's HEADSTRONG youth summits is to coordinate the space and tools young people need to shatter stigma and lead the charge as mental health champions. HEADSTRONG summits recognize the strength and resilience of young people, regardless of the challenges or trauma they may have experienced. Through HEADSTRONG, more than 500,000 young people from across the country have enjoyed the opportunity to rethink the prejudices and stereotypes attached to mental illness and reframe the discussion in their schools and communities.
With evaluation evidence showing 95 per cent of youth participants felt inspired to take a stand against stigma, HEADSTRONG summits are springing up across the country. Led by youth, for youth, the outcome of the summits involves young leaders returning to their schools and delivering mental health promotion action plans. These often include the development of supportive wellness spaces free from judgement.
Ultimately, every community that benefits from HEADSTRONG is becoming a safer space for young people.