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‘Call to Action’ to address mental health and substance use in youth

For Immediate Release – September 27, 2009 (Brantford, Ontario) – A recent policy document titled ‘Take Mental Health to School’ suggests that one in five children and youth suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder including substance abuse. Beyond parents and families, the care and support of children and youth with mental health and substance use issues in Haldimand, Norfolk and Brant are the collective responsibilities of a number of agencies and providers.

The local Youth Drugs and Mental Health (YDMH) Committee spent the past year interviewing youth and service providers and working on a framework to help build a more integrated approach to better serve youth. A successful Youth Drugs and Mental Health Forum in 2009 set the stage for a ‘Call to Action.’ The YDMH committee is hosting the ‘Call to Action’ on September 30 at 9 am at the Grand Erie District School Board – Joseph Brant Learning Centre, 347 Erie Ave Brantford.

The event will bring together representatives of the four pillars of community service best poised to respond to drugs and mental health issues: prevention, supportive environment, enforcement, and treatment. Action plans will be created that aim to improve working relationships and collaboration amongst services to better address the needs of our youth and their families.

Binge drinking and misuse of prescription drugs are a concern according to the 2009 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS). “It’s important to recognize that drug use and mental health issues often overlap,” said Marty McLeod, chairperson of the YDMH committee. The survey shows that about 8% of all students in grades 7 to 12 report both hazardous drinking and elevated psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression). The overall goal of the ‘Call to Action’ is to develop a community strategy to better serve youth.

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Media Contact:
Marty McLeod
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health & Chair of the YDMH Committee.
Phone: 519-583-9060
Email: [email protected]

* Taking Mental Health to School, Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO

** Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS),website