Mental health takes centre stage at Vic High

Leadership class hosts three days of mental health awareness workshops for students.

From left

Depression, anxiety and suicide take centre stage at Victoria High next week, as the school’s leadership class hosts three days of mental health awareness workshops for students.

Entitled Your Mind Matters: Let’s Talk about Mental Health, the events are intended to de-stigmatize the concerning number of young people impacted by mental health issues, says Leslie Albers, Vic High leadership teacher.

“I’ve seen such a growth in anxiety among students in my years of teaching and it can be quite debilitating for kids,” Albers says. “Students want to know when it’s not just worrying, and they want to be able to help their friends.”

Statistics ­Canada numbers show youth aged 15 to 24 are more likely to suffer from depression, mood disorders, anxiety, panic disorders, mania, agoraphobia and substance abuse than the general population.

Other issues leading to high anxiety are the pressures getting into post-secondary studies and the unemployment rate for young people, which is nearly 14 per cent across the country.

The idea for a seminar-style event on mental health came from a core group of Grade 11 students who felt their knowledge on depression, anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses was lacking.

“We’re just hoping that this event will open the discussion and provide students with information and coping strategies,” Albers says.

Kicking off the series April 29, keynote speaker Brent Seal will share his journey from suicide attempt and mental illness to the ultra-marathoner and motivational speaker he is today. Seal graduated in 2010 from Simon Fraser University as valedictorian and spends his time as an ambassador for addressing mental health.

The following day, leadership students host 12 workshops and presentations about specific mental disorders and illnesses including eating disorder, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. Trained school counsellors will participate in each workshop.

On May 1, leadership students host a lunchtime event promoting strategies that contribute to mental wellness that includes free food, exercise demonstrations, activities and games.

“This seems to be a fairly unique event for a high school, although I don’t think our high school is unique in student mental health challenges, it’s just our society,” Albers said.

“But the response has been very positive from speakers and we hope it’s the same for students.”

Just Posted

Tomato planting controversy inspires Victoria author’s book on transforming cities

Woman behind the Collinson street mural pens third book

Victoria Humane Society needs volunteers after flood of puppies and kittens

Pregnant cats, dogs and their litters are in need of foster care

Stem cell donor with rare genetic makeup needed to save Saanich man after cancer returns

Jeremy Chow is half Canton Chinese, half British and needs a donor with a similar ethnic background

Victoria Police seek witnesses after cyclist tripped up by tow strap between vehicles

The collision happened on Aug. 18 at Oswego and Belleville streets

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read