CCRSB Students aim to reduce mental health stigma

Media Release: 
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CCRSB students in Colchester and Cumberland Counties are coming together to attend the Headstrong Summit to learn how to reduce stigma toward mental illness. 

The summit takes place October 18 at the NSCC in Amherst and on October 26 at the NSCC in Truro. More than 170 students and staff from local schools will be participating in the events. 

Headstrong is the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) youth anti-stigma initiative. Bringing Headstrong to CCRSB has been a strong collaborative effort between MHCC and many community partners, including CCRSB, Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial, SchoolsPlus, Mental Health and Addictions, Canadian Mental Health Association, Public Health Services, NSCC, and other supportive organizations in our community. 

The stigma that often surrounds mental health problems and mental illnesses is keeping many people from seeking the help they need when they need it most. In fact, most people living with a mental illness say that the stigma they experience is often worse than the illness itself.

Young people feel the impacts of stigma more than any other group in Canada.

The first symptoms of mental health problems and mental illnesses are most often experienced in the teenage years. Research shows that nearly 60 per cent of young people (under age 25) with a mental illness say they have experienced the impact of stigma (MHCC, 2016). 

The Headstrong Summits in CCRSB are some of the first in Nova Scotia. Headstrong Summits are starting to pop up across Canada as a way to engage and inspire young people to take action to reduce stigma. In 2016, 120 CCRSB students and staff participated in a Headstrong summit in Pictou County.

At the summit, students will hear personal stories of hope and recovery from people who have lived experience with mental illness, as well as learn about the damaging effects of stigma. Participants will also engage in activities and action planning to assist them in taking these messages back to their schools. 

Each summit speaker brings a unique and inspirational story of what is it is like to live with a mental illness.

For more information on Headstrong, please visit: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/initiatives/11876/headstrong.