Let's be real about mental health problems (and solutions) in Vancouver

Mar 3 2018, 6:36 am

We know as well as you do that there are problems in the world.

The good thing is, there are solutions. There is hope, and there are things that you can do to make this world the awesome place you want it to be. But before you can truly help, it’s always best to understand the problems in front of you. And the history of Vancouver’s mental health struggles is one worth learning. So let’s get up to speed.

Reconciliation for residential schools

Between 1880 and 1996, over 150,000 kids were taken away from their families and placed in government-funded, church-run schools. But the thing is, these weren’t church kids, and they didn’t leave their families by choice.

The children who were taken from their homes were First Nations, Métis, and Inuit kids. They were children who loved their families and didn’t want to leave. They also had no choice.

They were put in residential schools and robbed of their childhood. But more than that, they were robbed of their culture. Many of the children suffered emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse, and some even died while attending these schools.

Needless to say, it was pretty horrible. The unresolved trauma suffered by former students has been passed on from generation to generation. To move forward, we need to come together, regardless of our background. We need to talk about what happened, understand it, and seek reconciliation.

Now you can, at the Truth and Reconciliation session of Stenberg College’s Be the Change conference on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17. 

Be the Change Conference/Stenberg College

Homelessness in Vancouver

Since 2014, homelessness in Metro Vancouver has increased by over 30%.

During the 2017 homeless count, 3,605 individuals were found to be experiencing homelessness in Metro Vancouver. This includes unsheltered and sheltered individuals, 201 of which were under the age of 19. Which brings us to drug use.

Canada’s own opioid epidemic

Last year the fentanyl crisis left a devastating effect. Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said that it was “the most tragic year ever” for overdose deaths in BC.

More than 1,400 people died from illicit drug overdose in the province, and this was an increase of 43% from 2016. All of this can be hard to fathom, and sometimes it’s even harder to figure out how to help. But guess what? You can help.

How you can help right now

When we take care of our youth, we take care of our future. When we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take care of others. When we fight stigma and choose to accept people for who they are, we are choosing love.

The Beatles knew it, Harry Potter’s mom knew it, and every romantic comedy ever made knew it – love wins. It may be cheesy, but it’s true, too.

By attending the Resistance, Resilience & Recovery session of Stenberg College’s Be the Change conference, you’ll get to talk about youth, self-care, and stigma. You’ll start to walk down the path of learning the insights, empathy, and skills you’ll need to help people. You can make things better, instead of watching them stay the same.

Why you should attend

“Stenberg believes it’s important to do what we can to make a positive addition to the dialogue around finding solutions to these very real issues that affect all of our communities,” said Jeremy Sabell, president of Stenberg College. “Stenberg College has thousands of graduates who work in the area of mental health and addictions. The challenges in this area are well-known to us and are continuously on our social conscience. To do nothing would be unconscionable.”

Click here to reserve your tickets for this free event and hear from some incredible speakers, such as Minister Judy Darcy, Dina Lambright, Duane Howard, Chief Ernie Crey, Judy Graves, Stefania Seccia, David Wells, Shayne Williams, Michelle Jansen, Darwin Fisher, Dr. Christy Sutherland, Dr. Evan Wood, Minister Melanie Mark, Dr. Vikki Reynolds, and Bif Naked.

Be the Change: Changing Attitudes | Seeking Solutions | Taking Action

When: March 16 and March 17
Time: 8:30 am to
 4:30 pm
Price: Free – Register via Stenberg College

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