It's been a long time since the 1970s when help for young people with depression or other mental disorders were treated to therapists who were engaged in guesswork almost all of the time. The main idea of the time was that depression was a personal failure which could be erased by facing up to your mistakes. The government left these kids to deal with this alone, there was no backup, no psychiatric survivors groups, nothing when it didn't work out.
In the eighties, a contest for the best stage play by high school students left Ottawa aghast, all the plays were about depression in teens and suicide. It was commented on but there were no steps to help these kids. In the nineties, with the rise in Ottawa of the homeless population, mental illness became, in people's minds, associated with crimes and the illness of 'failures'.
Just a while ago, we had an election. I was phoned by one of the parties. I told them I was not interested in any of their platform, I was only interested in when was somebody going to do something about mental illness in young people. The woman said she, too was interested in this subject because as a grade school teacher, she saw many children with mental disorders, who needed care but weren't getting it. She convinced me to vote for her party, the man running was very interested in the subject. He got in but when I tried to talk to him about it, he never answered my letters or even the form he himself sent around.
Last year a hockey coach's daughter killed herself for depression and a couple of months ago an MPs teen-age boy committed suicide over depression caused by being picked on. Why are we, as a society leaving these kids to suffer like this. It seems it starts very young when we 'streetproof' our kids, making them take responsibility for themselves when they should be being watched. A little while ago, in a city park, a man tried to lure a young girl away from the playground. She ran to her mother at her house. Good. But why necessary? Why weren't there adults present on the playground to intimidate any perverts from hitting on kids. Now it's just my own amateur opinion, but I think when we have kids policing themselves, putting pressure on them from an early age to keep themselves safe, they tend to think they're all alone. How many times do the feel the burden of coping with their troubles all by themselves? These things tend to become a habit, in my opinion, so they learn not to reach out, there most probably won't be anyone to help them. Unfortunately, in the case of mental illness, they are right.