Perspectives

New campaign challenges youth to be the generation to effect change in mental health

By Jeff Moat
October 4, 2012

Partners for Mental Health is launching a new youth campaign this month, titled “Let’s Call BS,” with the aim of challenging young Canadians to see mental health as their issue and that they can be the generation to change things for the better. The national campaign will seek to mobilize youth aged 15-21 to “call out” the way Canadians talk about, support and treat mental health and sign a declaration in support of change at callbs.ca beginning Oct. 29.

Throughout the campaign, supporters will be invited to identify and challenge common practices around mental health that are far from acceptable. As well, the campaign will encourage youth to rally others around the cause by holding local events in their school and communities. Social and digital media will also play a key role in connecting with youth in an innovative way.

The campaign will officially kick off with a youth-focused summit, which will bring together youth, subject matter experts and members of the mental health community to have a real conversation about youth mental health issues that need to be addressed and ideas on how Canadians can work together to change them. A final day of celebration on Nov. 29 will bring the campaign to a close and shine the spotlight on key successes and highlights from the preceding month.

With almost 20 per cent of adolescents reporting having a mental illness or substance abuse problem, and 75 per cent of all lifetime cases of mental disorders beginning by age 24, the issues surrounding the mental health of the youth demographic are profound, says Jeff Moat, president of Partners for Mental Health.

“Youth are more socially aware than ever before, and evidence suggests that they are ready to take on issues where previous generations haven’t been successful. As well, our research shows young Canadians believe that the issues around mental health are very important,” he says.

Moat adds: “I believe this anthemic campaign will provide the vehicle through which youth can help drive transformative change within the mental health system in Canada. The youth we spoke with related to the core idea of calling for change in the mental health system, and they really liked the authenticity of the campaign.”

The youth campaign follows the success of Partners for Mental Health’s first national campaign, “Not Myself Today,” which rallied almost 30,000 individuals to take a pledge of support for mental health and prompted more than 200 events in schools and workplaces across Canada on the campaign’s April 30 Day of Action.

Contact: Jeff Moat, 613-683-3743, jmoat@partnersformh.ca

Jeff Moat is the President of Partners for Mental Health. Jeff joined Partners for Mental Health with the passionate belief that by galvanizing a community of supportive Canadians, we can transform our collective efforts into a powerful social movement that will not only drive positive change in the mental health system, but also create broader social change.

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