What Is Youth Mental Health Canada (YMHC)?
YMHC is a national network dedicated to transforming mental health and suicide prevention through evidence, strength, and hope-based educational resources, initiatives, services, workshops and training. As a registered community-based, youth-driven, and educator-led charitable non-profit organization, we have a strong focus on young people, family, school, and community engagement.
Our organization has a ten-year track record of values-driven work, contributing to provincial and national change in education and support for students with mental health challenges and disabilities. We have actively participated in efforts to decrease suicide risk factors, a cause of utmost importance given that Canada has the third highest youth suicide rate in the industrialized world. For 10 years, YMHC has been a force for change that has dramatically changed the conversation and educational policies on youth mental health through education on issues
impacting young people.
YMHC approaches mental health and wellness issues from an intersectional, social justice, and equity perspective. Our commitment to human rights issues for all people is evident in our work in the last ten years.
YMHC is a member of national and international organizations focused on youth mental health, suicide prevention, and school attendance/chronic school absenteeism. We work closely with international experts in these areas and contribute to the development of greater global awareness of youth mental health and suicide prevention issues.
Our mental wellness tools and resources have been developed to increase accessibility, awareness, skills development, and coping strategies for all people.
We believe that young people with mental health challenges have the right to be respected, supported and included in schools and communities.
We believe that young people have the right to mental health treatment and support services that are timely, effective and coordinated.
INVESTMENT IN POTENTIAL
We believe that meeting the mental health needs of young people requires significant investment. Young people with mental health issues have much to contribute to society. It is our responsibility to allow that contribution to flourish.
We believe that young people benefit from close collaboration and shared responsibility among service providers, families, communities, educators, other professionals and government.
We believe that educational and healthcare supports must be coordinated to support the mental health needs of young people.
We believe that there should be accountability for the responses of societal systems and the people within the systems to the mental health needs of young people.
YMHC Mission Statement and Goals
Our goal for our mental health and wellness educational resources is for all students, families, educators, and mental health professionals in Canada to have and use these resources. Access to mental health and wellness educational resources is the way to see real change in normalizing the conversation on mental health and wellness, reducing suicide risk factors, and increasing mental
wellness protective factors.
YMHC educational resources have the potential to make Canada a leader in responding to youth mental health issues by providing mental wellness tools for all ages, backgrounds, and needs.
There is NO education without good mental health:
Mental health is a critical component of overall well-being and is particularly important in educational settings. The prevalence of mental health issues among students is staggering. Mental health issues not only affect students emotional well-being but also have a significant impact on their academic success. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that students who reported higher levels of emotional distress were more likely to have lower grades and miss school. It is therefore essential for educators, school counselors, mental health professionals, families, and students to understand the importance of addressing mental health in education.
Mental health is a crucial component of overall health and well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and behave and can have a significant impact on our ability to learn, interact with others, and navigate life’s challenges. In educational settings, mental health is particularly important because it can have a profound impact on students; academic success. Mental health is a crucial aspect of a students overall well-being and academic success. Educators play a vital role in promoting positive mental health in educational settings by creating a safe and supportive learning environment, teaching healthy coping mechanisms, addressing mental health stigma, and providing valuable resources and support.
YMHC is here to support students, families, educators, community workers, and mental health professionals.
Since 2013, here are YMHC’s successes that have made us internationally recognized and respected in youth mental health and suicide prevention:
- Provided hundreds of in-person and virtual presentations, workshops, and training courses to thousands of students, families, education and mental health professionals, government workers, community workers, and community members across Canada and internationally
- Produced five mental wellness workbooks and a guidebook on supporting students with mental health challenges and disabilities who experience chronic school absenteeism
- Produced multilingual mental health posters
- Provided advocacy and support services to hundreds of students and their families across Canada.
- Held a national youth mental health film contest called Directing Change Canada
- Worked with hundreds of volunteers and postsecondary placement students across Canada and internationally.
- Conducted two surveys on youth mental health and wellness needs and school phobia, avoidance, and chronic absenteeism with recommendations for action.
- Presented at local, provincial, national, and international conferences.
- Produced an Every Child Matters line with all proceeds going to Indigenous communities
- Created a Make Hope Happen and Heart-to-Heart campaign to generate ways of supporting individuals and communities.
- Been interviewed by media sources throughout North America including local and national CBC television and radio, Globe and Mail, CTV, the Toronto Star, The Agenda with Steve Paikin.
Who Is YMHC?
YMHC is a community-based, youth-driven, and educator-led charitable non-profit organization focused on youth, family, school, and community engagement for mental health education, support, advocacy, and change.
We advocate for needs-based, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed mental health support, services, and educational accommodations for students. We believe that families with children who have chronic mental health disabilities require direct funding to support young people.
Our mental wellness tools and resources have been developed to increase accessibility, awareness, skills development, and coping strategies for all people. Tools for wellness are important, proactive, preventative, and low-cost ways of maintaining mental wellness. All workbooks have been peer-reviewed by internationally known and respected mental health professionals.
We provide presentations and workshops on a range of topics for students from elementary to postsecondary and families, and workshops and training courses for school staff and employees in a variety of educational, workplace, and community settings.
YMHC Executive Director
The YMHC Executive Director is a passionate Educator and Child and Youth Expert known for inspiring change with her engaging, inspiring style, and practical ideas. Her resources, presentations, workshops, and courses consolidate her background in education, mental wellness, human rights, equity, and disability awareness and support, and draw on a wide evidence base. Her career started as a Special Education teacher in Zimbabwe, Africa. She has worked with young people with disabilities and studied education and disability issues in university. She brings broad teaching knowledge from working with elementary, secondary and postsecondary, and adult education students. She is the author of five mental wellness journal workbooks and a guidebook on supporting students. She is a member of the International Association of Youth Mental Health, International Network for School Attendance, International Association for Suicide Prevention, and other organizations focused on youth mental health, suicide prevention, and school attendance. She has had the privilege of working with and learning from hundreds of schools, community organizations, and professionals internationally.
YMHC Social Media
We are proud to manage the largest online mental health platform in Canada, reaching between 20 to 30 million people. Our active presence across various social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Threads, and TikTok) and websites (www.ymhc.ngo, https://edu.ymhc.ngo, https://schoolphobia.ymhc.ngo) exemplifies our commitment to our mission. Mental health social media is an important force for good. People of all ages and backgrounds use YMHC social media platforms to access information, research, resources, and support. YMHC is an important lifeline for many people who rely on our inspirational messages, coping strategies information, and opportunities to share their lived experiences.
We invite you to explore these platforms and witness the impact of our work first-hand.