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Children and Youth

What is the issue?

Healthy emotional and social development in our early years lay the foundation for mental health and resilience throughout the lifespan. Yet, 70 per cent of persons living with a mental illness see their symptoms begin before age 18. Mental illness affects some 1.2 million of our children and youth. By age 25, that number rises to 7.5 million (about one in five Canadians).

Youth who need mental health services as they are entering the adult mental health system are often not well supported: less than 20 per cent receive appropriate treatment — a figure close to the number of children receiving needed mental health services.

What are we doing?

As part of our mandate, we are working with our partners to advance the mental health of infants, children, youth, and emerging adults. The resources we’ve developed include the following:

Mental health system transformation

The Mental Health Strategy for Canada: A Youth Perspective offers an accessible adaptation of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada. Created by MHCC’s Youth Council and written and designed by youth, it highlights the experiences and vision of young people who are working toward system change.

Addressing emerging adult mental health

The MHCC-W2A Rainbow Youth Health Forum Report and video series show what you can do to create safer, more inclusive spaces for two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (2SLGBTQ+) emerging adults in health-care settings.

Videos

Post-secondary students standard

The National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students – the first of its kind in the world – is a set of flexible, voluntary guidelines to help post-secondary institutions support the mental health and well-being of their students. In addition, a Starter Kit was created to help post-secondary institutions take their first steps in aligning with the Standard — in the COVID-19 context and beyond.

Early childhood mental health

See what we’re doing to help create a more supportive system, one that fosters positive early development, mental health, and resiliency across the lifespan.

Related Initiatives
How Emerging Adults and Service Providers Can Co-Create Mental Health Services

A one-hour panel discussion with perspectives from three emerging adults and service providers

Where they are and what they do: A practices of interest directory

Programs, resources, research, and more that support emerging adult mental health across Canada

Take it forward: Maintaining momentum on emerging adult mental health

A two-page synthesis on emerging adult mental health to support the implementation of the Consensus Statement’s priority recommendations

Resources

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) created a number of resources to support the mental health and wellness of children and youth across Canada. Click on the links below for more information.

This three-part webinar series, co-hosted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, focuses on emerging research about the impact of legalization for a range of priority populations across...
Young people face significant internal and external stressors, including social, physiological, and neurological change. Being an adolescent can involve many challenges. When facing them, some may feel trapped and need...
Serious impact from COVID-19 on mental health and substance use continues, especially among youth A new report from the series of Leger polls commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of...
Watch our discussion of the recent policy brief about the impact of the pandemic on families and early childhood mental health with co-author and co-host: the Canadian Paediatric Society. In...
The CSA Z2003:20 National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students (the Standard) — the first of its kind in the world — is a set...
Returning to school after summer break is always an adjustment, but this year marks a return unlike any other. After more than a year of physical distancing, virtual learning, home...
This package contains everything you need to apply and plan for the Virtual HEADSTRONG Summit program for youth in your region. The HEADSTRONG team invites you to complete and return...
HEADSTRONG is an initiative built to inspire youth to become leaders in their schools. HEADSTRONG leaders challenge stigma, raise mental health awareness, and promote mental wellness and early help-seeking. The...