1 in 5 of us is struggling with a mental health or addiction problem.

Thanks to Richard Nott who responded to our post on the Pemberton Community Forum inviting people to advocate for ongoing funding to the province’s Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative. Nott did a little background reading on the CAMH and shared these facts.

In case you saw the post and mentally filed it as “irrelevant”, “does not apply”, “don’t have time for this”, please take a minute to consider these stats, and write a letter.

By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness.

Here’s some sample verbiage to help. Feel free to customize it to your situation, or add any of the facts below, that stop you in your tracks.

Honorable …….

I believe that The Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative is an important initiative and one that needs to continue and grow in order to keep providing relevant and timely services to youth and their families. Given our current opiod crisis, it is imperative that youth and families get services when they need them – not when families lose their children to the streets, which is the end point for youth who don’t receive proper services or care when intervention is an option.  Mental Health and Substance Use is a dynamic issue and not one that can be ‘solved’ in a three year span. It is an issue that needs constant attention and service as problems shift and change.

Please show our youth that they matter, and that you are committed to providing safe and timely services for their well being.


your name and voting area.

And send your letter to:

Adrian Dix adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca – Minister of Health

Judy Darcy judy.darcy.mla@leg.bc.ca – Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Katrine Conroy katrine.conroy.mla@leg.bc.ca – Minister of Children and Family Development

Rob Fleming rob.fleming.mla@leg.bc.ca – Minister of Education

Jordan Sturdy: jordan.sturdy.mla@leg.bc.ca  – Sea to Sky’s local elected representative


Facts about Mental Health

From the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

  • In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem.
  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
  • Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group.
  • Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada.
  • Of Canadians aged 15 or older who report having a mental health care need in the past year, one third state that their needs were not fully met.
  • An estimated 75% of children with mental disorders do not access specialized treatment services.
  • Wait times for counselling and therapy can be long, especially for children and youth.
  • A growing body of international evidence demonstrates that promotion, prevention, and early intervention initiatives show positive returns on investment.

From a Simon Fraser University Report conducted for the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development:

According to estimates derived from recent well-designed prevalence surveys in other countries, as many as 12.6% of children and youth aged 4–17 years — or nearly 84,000 in British Columbia (BC) — are likely experiencing clinically significant mental disorders at any given time. These surveys also reveal stark service shortfalls in that under one third of young people with disorders — just 31% or 26,000 in BC — are estimated to be receiving specialized mental health services.

The collective costs of mental health are staggering. But many costs are avoidable. Averting one case of conduct disorder saves $2-5 million (from childhood through to adulthood) across healthcare, child protection and foster care, special education, income assistance and justice system costs.

From the Canadian Mental Health Association:

Many mental illnesses—between 50% and about 70%—show up before the age of 18, so they can have a huge impact on a child’s development.

Unfortunately, only one in four kids and teens in Canada who need mental health treatment can get it.

The terms ‘mental illness’ and ‘addiction’ refer to a wide range of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behaviour. Examples include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, as well as substance use disorders and problem gambling. Mental illness and addictions can be associated with distress and/or impairment of functioning. Symptoms vary from mild to severe. 

With appropriate treatment and support, most people with mental illness will recover.


Let’s make sure that appropriate treatment and support is available.

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