With five days left of #PushingForAwareness, I continue to be humbled by my son and his non-stop desire to raise awareness for childhood mental illness.
He has done 50 pushups for 46 days now (well, he still needs to get his done today but to be fair, it’s currently 5:12 am, so I’ll give him some grace here) to raise awareness and funds for childhood mental illness. Throughout this campaign, he has raised over $4000 and with 5 days he is bound and determined to reach his goal of $5000.
After battling for over 4 years, my son was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder and depression. He is 10 years old. He has officially called his mental illness “Dickson”. We hate Dickson.
Over the past 46 days of #PushingForAwareness I have learned a lot about mental illness and I thought I would share some of the most shocking stats I discovered.
Facts About Mental Illness:
- 1 in 7 kids has a mental illness.
- 1 in 5 actually gets the help they need.
- 24% of all deaths in 15-24-year-olds are caused by suicide.
- 49% of people who feel they have suffered from depression have never gone to a doctor.
- On average, there has been a 188% increase in emergency room visits from 2007 to 2018 for ages 5 to 24 (229% increase for ages 5 – 9).
- Untreated anxiety often leads to depression. Depression rarely (if ever) leads to anxiety.
- 4.4 million kids have been diagnosed with anxiety, 1/3 of those have depression (32.5%).
- 100% of Canadian will be affected by mental illness at some point in their life.
- Mental illness is the #1 disability affecting people around the world. READ THAT AGAIN. NUMBER ONE.
- 6% of the Canadian healthcare budget is dedicated to mental illness; that number should be closer to 30% to account for the people with disabilities and mental illnesses.
If you think that mental illness is not a “real” issue in this world, think again. The great thing? There is help now and if we get our kids help NOW, they may not have to battle their entire lives. If we get our children help NOW, they may not experience depression and the darkness that brings to their lives.
If we get our children help NOW, we’re arming them with tools and strategies to fight their illness with all they are. They may need medication, they may need strategies, they may need counseling…DO IT ALL.
My son wants you all to know that he will continue to push for awareness far after this campaign is done. He’s already asked what we are doing next to help…he has his mind set on creating “Dickson Sucks” sweatshirts…I kind of adore that idea.
I hope these facts are staggering to you. I hope these stats are eye-opening. I hope the friggin’ government reads this and all the other stats out there and opens their damn eyes to the help that is required for the people suffering who needn’t be suffering.
There is help. There are medications. There are people who can support mental illness. I’m one of them and I will fight Dickson beside my son until the day Dickson shrinks to a manageable size for my son or I die. I prefer the non-dying option.
If you have a child that you feel is suffering from anxiety, depression or any other mental illness, the best resource I’ve found is called FamilySmart. They put you in contact with a leader in your area that can help you navigate through the over-worked system that is mental health and find the resources available to you. Please reach out to them at www.familysmart.ca.