High school youth discuss mental health at HEADSTRONG Summit

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Addiction Services has partnered with the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board’s SchoolsPlus Program and Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia to hold a one-day HEADSTRONG Summit on October 24, 2017. This is the fourth time the groups have partnered on this event, which this year will bring together 80 high school students.

The focus of the event is to increase knowledge of mental health and mental illness and addictions, to decrease stigma, and begin to change current attitudes about mental health. Organizers also hope to educate young people and school administration on how to address mental health issues, and have them leave the Summit with more tools and resources to do so. And, finally, it is hoped that the event will begin to build a network of support in the community to start to change the culture surrounding mental health and the challenges illness can bring.

This Summit is a full day consisting of education on mental health and the impact of stigma. The day will be facilitated by school guidance counsellors and Child and Adolescent Services staff, along with first-voice presentations by community members delivering a message of hope, recovery, and the impact of stigma. The day will conclude with a conversation café which will highlight similarities, not differences, and the role each person can play in change.

Youth will brainstorm ideas on how to make their school and community more accepting to those with mental health and substance use disorders. Youth will return to their schools and initiate their own HEADSTRONG champion projects. The project aims to begin building a network of support through accurate knowledge and understanding amongst youth in our community. This support will start a change in the current culture surrounding mental health and substance use and help break down barriers that stigma creates.

About 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental health disorders and substance use disorders than other age groups. However, only about 25- 30% of children and adolescents receive the help they need. Stigma is one of the greatest barriers to accessing services and recovery.

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Media Contacts:

At HEADSTRONG Summit:
Dr. Julie MacDonald will be on site and serve as initial contact for Media representatives who may attend during the day. An event agenda is also included with this release

Greg Boone
Public Engagement and Communications
Phone: 902-567-7791
Cell: 902-565-6872
Toll Free: 1-844-483-3344
Greg.Boone@nshealth.ca