Mental illness affects approximately 1.2 million children & youth in Canada but fewer than 20% receive appropriate support. Wait-lists over one year are not uncommon and can even be greater than 18 months.
More about the state of children and youth
Mental illness is the number one disability Worldwide and can affect anyone regardless of age, education, income level
and culture. Canada is not immune, and suffers the same reality. It is estimated that 70% of mental health challenges emerge during childhood.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental illness affects approximately 1.2 Million children and youth in Canada but fewer than 20% receive appropriate support. Inconsistent data tracking and information gaps make it unclear what the average wait-times for services are; however, where tracked, wait-lists for publicly-funded over one year are not uncommon in Canada and can even be greater than 18 months.
The cost of inaction is enormous and potentially devastating. Help us bridge the gaps and support families access appropriate support for their children and youth.
- Youth Mental Health Stats in Canada, Facts. Retrieved from
https://ymhc.ngo/resources/ymh-stats/ (Sept 24, 2019).
- Mental Health Services Canada, Children & Youth. Retrieved from
https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/what-we-do/children-and-youth (Sept 24, 2019)
An estimated 50% of youth in Canada report missing school due to anxiety, and kids with mental health challenges are over 25% more likely to suffer from poor academic performance.
More about school-based mental health in Canada
With approximately 1 in 5 children and youth suffering from mental health challenges, creating mentally aware and healthy environments at school should be a priority. To put it into a classroom context, teachers tasked with fostering a positive learning environment for a class of 35 students will likely have 7 students that are suffering from mental health challenges. Unfortunately, mental health and co-regulation strategies are not skill requirements for becoming a teacher, leaving teachers ill-equipped and lacking support to manage student needs effectively.
We want to help inject and standardize leading edge practices into the classroom to support teachers and students, transforming classroom culture towards one that is a positive learning environment for all. Donate today to help us make this a reality!
- Children’s Mental Health Ontario, KIDS CAN’T WAIT Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Ontario’s Children and Youth 2018 PRE-BUDGET SUBMISSION, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.cmho.org/images/policy-papers/CMHO_PBS_2018_Report.pdf (Sept 24, 2019)
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children & youth aged 5 – 24 in Canada, and ranks Canada as having the 3rd highest suicide rate for youth in the industrialized world.
More about child & youth suicide
Indigenous youth are at risk of suicide over FIVE times more than the average non-indigenous youth, while Inuit suicide rates are 11 times higher than the national average and are among the highest suicide rates in the world. 
Despite these alarming statistics, and the strong correlation between mental illness and suicide, only 6% of the healthcare budget in Canada is spent on mental health services. This is an enormous inequity in the resourcing of our healthcare system. We need to stop treating mental health as somehow separate from standard healthcare. Today, the cost and burden of youth mental health care is inordinately borne by caregivers and families. We know we can provide better support and more equitable funding for young people, families, and communities.
Much work is being done regionally on youth suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention, and amazing youth-led peer-to-peer awareness initiatives are blossoming, like Jack.org. Our objective is to help scale best practices to ensure all professionals that interface with children and youth are equipped to recognize the risk factors and help guide youth to access appropriate support. Help us make a difference today!
- Indigenous Services Canada, First Nations & Inuit health – mental health and wellness. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada/services/first-nations-inuit-health/health-promotion/suicide-prevention.html (Sept 24, 2019)
“I lost my son to suicide when he was 11 years old. I had no idea how prevalent child & youth suicide was in Canada before his death. For me, Myles’ suicide is a call to action… how many more calls to action must there be before we join together and say enough is enough?”
More about my story
Trying to find appropriate mental health support services for my son was such an isolating and disheartening experience. Publicly funded options were inaccessible when we needed them, and private services were hard to find and very expensive. Many teachers and school administrators that I dealt with appeared to lack any empathy and real understanding for what we were going through and it felt like their preferred outcome was to have us become someone else’s ‘problem’. Often the approach within schools was punitive and there was a lack of specialized knowledge for working with diverse kids. Living that experience was frustrating and heart-breaking but losing my son to suicide at age 11 absolutely ripped my world apart. Myles’ life cannot have been lost in vain. My son’s suicide is a call to action…
I am dedicating my life to creating change in Myles’ memory. Please join in the movement and help us create a better world for our kids.
Myles Ahead, Advancing Child & Youth Mental Health is a registered charity dedicated to improving mental health services and school-based programming for children, youth and their families with the ultimate goal of suicide prevention.
Our approach is methodically co-design focused, using best evaluation practices to ensure continuous improvement opportunities are identified and integrated along the way. Through partnerships, collaborations and the proliferation of leading evidence-based initiatives, we are focused on creating cohesion and filling gaps in the fragmented system in order to advance:
Available and accessible appropriate mental health services for children, youth and their families
Positive mental health programming and resources in schools focused on creating a safe, positive and inclusive co-regulated environment for everyone
Help build greater capacity and awareness to mitigate risks of suicide and self harm
These are our objectives, and we do it in loving memory of Myles Kulperger. Lost too young to his mental health challenges, his life cannot have been lost in vain.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children and youth in Canada. Take a moment to reflect on that. How is that possible…? This is Canada? This should not be our story. We are devastated that it is.
Though Myles is no longer physically with us, his spirit lives on, powering us forward to make the world a better place in his memory. We firmly believe that collectively we can and will do better. Join us.