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Thanksgiving can be tough on mental health of students

Last Updated Oct 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm EDT

Thanksgiving is the kickoff for Canada’s official holiday season, but it can be a challenging time for students.

It’s been a little over a month since school started, and experts say this time of year, can be a particularly tough time for youth.

Books aren’t the only things weighing heavy on their minds as many are faced with changes, whether it be a new school, a heavier workload or entering the work field. Stressers that may appear to be normal for some, can impact people who are living with depression or anxiety.

“It’s impacting your ability to do things, like your energy is lower,” said Enid Grant, the Senior Director of Children’s Mental Health at Skylark Children, Youth and Families. “You’re not enjoying things anymore, you can’t get up for school, you don’t get up, you’re isolating yourself, it’s a very different phenomena.”

Grant says it’s vital that these challenges are being discussed, especially since there are resources available.

According to recent data from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, youth between the ages of 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness, but the majority will not receive appropriate treatment. The charity organization reports that of the estimated 1.2-million children and youth affected by mental illness in Canada, only 20 per cent will get treatment.

“I think we have some of the answers, and I don’t know that we have all of them,” Grant said. “Some of it is we don’t know what resources there are and how to access them.”

Grant says long wait-times may also play a role in why these resources can’t be accessed, but when they are accessed, it can take months.

“Wait-lists have been long because we haven’t funded mental health, even as well as we funded health” she said. “Children and youth mental health has been underfunded for many years.”

In some cases the answers may be in food, diet and physical activity. Otherwise, Grant advises youth to access resources available at their schools, place of employment or at a doctor’s office.

“You can seek out one of the walk-in clinics, to be able to get in and talk to somebody,” she said. “And you may just need one session, if you need more, they’ll help you get more resources, and get to the right places.”

To learn more about the Skylark walk-in clinics, you can visit their website here.