“Education can’t get rid of mental illness but it can give you the tools you need to do what you can to stack the odds in your favour that you won’t get it,” said Kutcher, a former member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s youth advisory committee.
Without this education, misinformation and isolation run rampant. Stigma festers, kids turn to dark corners of the Internet for advice, and they take up dangerous coping mechanisms, according to Dr. Alexa Bagnell, who is chief of psychiatry at IWK Health in Nova Scotia.
Bagnell works primarily with kids and adolescents diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety and other kinds of mental illness. Timing is integral. Seventy per cent of young adults fighting mental illnesses say their problems began in childhood or adolescence.
“A lot of youth who seek [professional] help don’t know a lot about mental illness beforehand,” Bagnell said.
This is interesting, because I don’t think it’s just teenagers who may be dealing with a mental health issue and not know it because they aren’t familiar with it. I’ve seen it in adults occasionally too, as they miss the signs of depression and blame it on something else instead of getting help for it.
How many people would get help if they knew what it was? How many people would be encouraged to get help if more people were aware of mental health?
Why not teach people of any age?