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Shining a Light on the Mental Health of Emerging Adults on World Health Day

Shining a Light on the Mental Health of Emerging Adults on World Health Day

OTTAWA – On behalf of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), Louise Bradley, President and CEO, made the following statement.

“Today the Mental Health Commission of Canada supports World Health Day as it shines a global light on mental health with a focus on those disproportionately affected by depression, including adolescents and young adults.

The MHCC is highlighting the importance of prevention and early intervention among young people. Most mental health problems, including depression, emerge in adolescence. In Canada, an estimated 1.2 million children and youth have a mental health problem or illness, yet less than 20 per cent receive the treatment they need. The prevalence of these problems among emerging adults rises progressively, peaking by age 29.

Emerging adults—those age 16 to 25 years —undergo many fast-paced transitions, including completing their education and starting careers. However, just when they may need support most, many are no longer eligible for mental health and addiction services for children and youth, “aging out” at 18 or 19 years. Many emerging adults disengage from mental health services at this juncture and face a significantly higher risk of developing life-long mental health problems.

Today the MHCC is releasing a Consensus Statement on the Mental Health of Emerging Adults: Making Transitions a Priority in Canada. This report recommends concrete steps to improve the mental health of emerging adults and address the challenges they face in current service systems. It builds on the knowledge, expertise and lived experience shared by 200 delegates from across the country, who convened for the first Canadian conference of its kind on the mental health of emerging adults in 2015.

The wisdom of investing public health dollars in early intervention is clear, especially for emerging adults. Appropriate and timely care geared to their developmental phase, rather than age, can change the lifetime trajectory of a young person’s mental health and well-being.

As new federal dollars for mental health flow to the provinces and territories over the next 10 years, let’s increase Canada’s mental wealth by investing in our youth. It’s an investment that will long pay dividends for everyone.”

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