For a few months now we have been reaching out to service providers on the mental health front.
This stemmed from what seemed at the time to be an increasing number of suicides in this area. Dozens of people we came in contact with had the same concern and a heartfelt desire to help somehow.
Whether help meant comforting families who suffered a loss or befriending people close to the situation, people are generally good and want to support others if they can.
Most of us find ourselves fumbling through these occasions with the best of intentions not knowing what to say or where to seek out advice. That’s what drove the idea to invest significant time and space for a feature on mental health, talking about resources that will help people.
Although experts will talk about suicide rates as being within norms, one such tragedy remains too much in our view.
We fully believe that if given the chance and the right tools, people will gladly step up and help out with situations where mental health is in question.
Consider current statistics that indicate one in five will struggle with mental illness at some point in their life – that is a significant number, suggesting most families will directly or indirectly have to deal with such a challenge.
Our first chat was with Inspector Scott Lawson, who was really excited about new initiatives Wellington County OPP is using to address mental health issues when they attend a call. With the help of a Canadian Mental Health Association clinician, officers attending calls are able to offer advice and shed some insight on next steps after the initial incident. It opens up opportunities for treatment previously not readily available. Most people agree treatment and smart intervention have to be part of the equation if we are to stop the dead end road that is incarceration.
There is little question that today’s students face an array of issues not even contemplated by previous generations. Peer pressure and anxiety are only amplified with social media. It can be a very uncertain time fitting in and figuring out where people fit in the social structure of a school, for example. Local high schools are offering supports for students to access help through these rough stretches. Some of those resources are mentioned in this week’s online edition of the Advertiser.
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