Their Royal Highnesses met with BC Children's Hospital representatives as well as volunteers, and patient and families from throughout the province to discuss child and youth mental health issues. The Duke and Duchess made a lasting impact, most of all for the patients and families they met who shared their personal mental health journeys. One of the mentors with the Kelty Youth Ambassador Program, Jasmine Rakhra, shared that meeting with the Duke and Duchess reaffirmed her purpose in life to help others and share her story of how she overcame some of the worst years of her life.
One of the moments I will cherish from my conversation with the Duke and Duchess was their response when I told them about my suicide attempts and how becoming involved with the Kelty Youth Ambassador Program in essence saved me, as I connected with youth who were just like me. I told them how I have gained a close-knit family within this community and how my work has given my life a new purpose. The Duke’s response was 'Well, we're very glad you're still here. You’re very brave and you should be very proud that you’ve shared your story’ - Jasmine Rakhra, mentor with the Kelty Youth Ambassador Program (Daily Mail UK)
This Sunday not only marks the one-year anniversary of this special occasion, but the beginning of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). This week is dedicated to spreading awareness, reducing stigma and changing the conversations around mental health.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince Harry are doing admirable work in reducing the stigma around mental health and encouraging more individuals to seek help when they need without fear or prejudice. We are proud to look back on this day, and reflect on the amazing work BC Children’s Hospital child and youth mental health services and programs have accomplished over the last year.
Here are some highlights of how we worked with patients, families, communities, partners and other health authorities to normalize conversations around mental health and increase access to services and resources:
- We worked with five communities across BC to host the Balancing Our Mind Summits, which are free one-day events led by youth, for youth to talk about mental health, break down stigma and connect people to resources in their communities. These resulted in:
- 2000+ high school-aged youth attending five summits
- 14+ school districts across BC participated
- 31 youth speakers sharing their personal mental health stories
- The Breathr Mindfulness App launched, which is a mobile app for youth and young adults to help ease stress and anxiety through the practice of mindfulness.
- LearningLinks was launched, providing an online learning resource designed to enhance knowledge, skills and confidence in child and youth mental health to support health care professionals and improving access for children, youth and families to medical specialists with expertise in child and youth mental health in BC.
- Through the BC Children’s Hospital Mental Health Literacy team:
- 128,000+ youth were engaged in mental health supporting activities and projects reaching across the province through conferences, ambassador program and mindcheck.ca youth website.
- 1600+ school professionals increased capacity to support students with mental health and substance use challenges by accessing resources and attending school workshops delivered across the province, including remote locations.
- 200,000+ families found guidance and support through multi-language videos, navigation tools, peer support and the many other resources offered.
- 3000+ health care providers accessed tools, training modules and resources.
• The BC Children's Hospital Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre connected with children, youth and families across BC:
- 1900+ direct contact (in person, face to face, email) with the Kelty Centre
- 50+ youth across BC engaged to increase awareness and decrease mental health stigma in their communities
- 400+ attended Kelty Pinwheel Education Series
- 195,000+ visits to the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre website
Want to get involved with Mental Illness Awareness Week? Join BC Children’s Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority in the conversation about mental health and #mentalillness and help raise awareness! #MIAW17