Hospitals across Canada have reported increases in the number of youth seeking help for severe mental illnesses such as depression, suicidal risk, and behavioural issues. So much so that it is placing a strain on hospital resources for meeting demand.
And the situation may go from bad to worse. In a 2011-2012 census by the Toronto District School Board released yesterday that surveyed more than 100,000 students, over 70 percent of grade 9 to 12 students polled often feel anxious, tired for no reason, and worried about their future. Almost 30 percent felt like crying in school.
In an era where youth spend more time on their cell phones and online communities, less time is spent interacting with others in person. In the workforce, half a million people miss work every day in Canada because of mental health-related reasons.
In order to encourage the discussion on mental health and end the stigma on mental illness, Bell launched a Let’s Talk campaign yesterday to get Canadians talking. For every text message sent, long distance call made, tweet, or Bell Let’s Talk image shared on Facebook, Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives across Canada.
Over 80,000,000 calls, tweets, and texts were made.
In another initiative, Rise Asset Development provides microfinance loans to people with mental health or addiction challenges and who are unable to secure employment.
These loans, averaging from $3,000 to $5,000 with a cap at $25,000 and a 3.5 percent fixed interest, help them launch their business. Due to historic struggles with mental health issues and addiction, it would be difficult and unlikely for an entrepreneur to get a conventional bank loan.
Rise Asset Development was created by the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. It also provides business support to the entrepreneur by connecting them with alumni from the Rotman School of Management.
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