Youth speak about importance of mental health care 0
Editor's note: According to Health Canada, one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and of those who require mental health services, only one in three actually receives those services (Stats Can). Also concerning, the 2007 National Physicians Survey determined that 71 per cent of family physicians in Ontario rank access to psychiatrists in Ontario as only fair to poor. I ask you, would we as citizens of Ontario accept 'fair to poor' access to emergency care at the hospital for a broken arm? Or how about 'fair to poor' cancer treatment? I didn't think so. Let's speak up.
What follows are testimonials from five young people that have received assistance at the Phoenix Centre over the years. They speak about what brought them to the centre for help and also the importance and impact on their lives of the mental health care they received. Their identities have been withheld for privacy reasons.
The Daily Observer news editor
"If you really, really knew me, you would know that my childhood, and high school life hasn't been that great. When I was 13, I became severely depressed. I just wasn't myself anymore. I became less and less interested in life and school. I stopped hanging out with my friends and my grades began to drop. One day, I couldn't breathe. I was having my first panic attack. When I was sixteen, I was diagnosed with depression, and anxiety. I reached out to teachers, and the Phoenix Centre, and I am doing much better!"
"If you really, really knew me you would know that I moved between houses a lot when I was younger. If you really, really, really knew me, you probably wouldn't want to. I've been to three schools, and lived in two towns. When I was four my parents broke up, and things got a bit crazy with visiting rights. At the age of eight my mom was re-married, and her new husband didn't like me very much. My mom started ignoring me, leaving me very depressed. We didn't have food at the house anymore. By the age of 12, I had to get a lunch at school everyday because my mom wasted the child support on booze and cigarettes. Now...I live with my father, and get help from the Phoenix Centre. Their staff there has really helped me understand that not everything is my fault. Thanks guys <3."
"I'm bisexual. I live in Pembroke, Ontario. If you really knew me you'd know, that when I was younger, I was molested by a girl. I felt dirty. I knew it was wrong, but I thought it was my fault, so I didn't say anything. Every day I as I grew up, I felt worse and worse. The only way I could make myself feel clean again, was taking a bath. And even after my baths I didn't feel clean for long. I started cutting when I was about 9-years-old. And when I was about 12-years-old, I had already attempted suicide three times. I didn't really have a lot of friends. The one that I did have was very worried for me. So she told the councillor at school. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was sent to CHEO, and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I had to be on all different kinds of medication. But after they found the right medication for me, things started getting better. About a couple months later, I started going to the Phoenix Centre. They made me feel a lot better. I know that everything is not my fault, and I am not dirty. I am proud to say, I am a survivor of depression. Just because I'm not depressed doesn't mean that I don't get upset, it means I've found out healthier ways to cope! :)"
"If you really knew me...you'd know that I love music, and really dislike school. I try to avoid it as much as possible because I feel extremely uncomfortable there. I've never liked school. I've been bullied my entire life for being tiny and very thin and because of it I am so insecure that it hurts me on a daily basis. I pick at my skin continuously, cut, and avoid people because I feel ugly and like I am a useless waste of space. Throughout my high school years I've dealt with anxiety, depression, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and I also believe I have slight OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) because of my constant hand washing and picking at the pores, acne, and scabs on my face, back, and chest because I feel they're too big, ugly, and disgusting. The only person who has really made a difference in my life is my boyfriend, as almost all the friends I've had have betrayed me, my father is verbally abusive, and my mum usually ignores me or just doesn't try hard enough to understand when I'm struggling. I really hope that the people in our community learn to educate themselves and reach out to their peers and loved ones as so many people struggle with mental illnesses or just feel lonely, unloved, and/or unappreciated."
"If you really knew me, you'd know that...I'm terrified of graduating this year. You'd also know that when I was 10-years-old, my father died. I went into a bad depression, and when I was 11, I started to cut myself. At the age of 12 I had already attempted suicide. I reached out with the help of my mom, and I started therapy at the Phoenix Center. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and put on antidepressants by my doctor. With the help of the Phoenix Center, my life started to turn around. I was so much happier then before when I started Grade 8. I made new friends, and I was doing really good in school. On Halloween that year I went to my first party ever. I didn't drink, or do any drugs. My friend eventually ditched me at that party, and an older teenager kept me company while I sat on the couch. I was raped by that man that night. After I found my friend and we left, I never spoke of it. I started cutting again. It took three years, and a 'friend' trying to sexually assault me, for me to speak out to my family and friends about what happened. I went back to the Phoenix Center, and they helped me get the help I needed. Now I am on antidepressants, and in therapy. I am doing so much better. Without the Phoenix Center's help, I don't know if I'd be alive today."