Our View: Stigma stymies youth

We like to think of childhood and youth as a carefree time when concerns are about scraped knees or first kisses, homework or what to wear for grad.

But the Norman Rockwell mythology of childhood and youth doesn’t jibe with the reality. (See page A9 for a young person’s insights on mental illness and how it impacts every facet of her life and decision making.) So what’s a young person to do when he or she has a mental illness?

If someone has an injury or illness, society accepts that they need help and should have help.

But our mind-over-matter culture expects people to ‘get over it’, particularly young people because of attitudes like ‘they’ve got it easy. They don’t know how tough life really is.’

Young people locally have said they feel alienated from their community because they must leave to access help.

That’s some of the feedback gathered by the Langley Local Action Team, a local group of doctors, nurses, other health professionals, government agencies, emergency services, social agencies, community groups, young people, and family representatives.

Its mandate is specifically to improve local access to youth mental health issues and substance abuse issues, which go hand in hand.

The team started by trying to increase resources for mental health treatment. But the biggest challenge for the team is tackling the social stigma around mental illness.

That stigma stops adults from getting help so it’s only natural that young people could be even more reticient to come forward. Who wants that label slapped on them?

Change starts with acknowledging that mental illness is just that – illness.

– H.C.



Just Posted

Apple heritage celebrated with Langley’s heritage apples

An annual party, in which families pay homage to the fruit, is on tap for Saturday at Derby Reach.

Fort Langley to hold all-candidates meeting

A forum in the village includes Township of Langley school trustee, council, and mayoral candidates.

Aldergrove Mall site becomes election issue

Letter from developers supporting current Township council sparks flurry of responses

UPDATED: Underground power fault blacks out part of downtown Langley

Electricity was out for a major commercial area.

Clayton’s Salish Secondary seeing community spirit in first weeks

The new high school welcomed its first set of students on Sept. 4

VIDEO: More cameras, police coming after Marissa Shen killed in Burnaby park

B.C. privacy watchdog worries that the cameras are a ‘slow creep’ to a surveillance state

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Premier John Horgan ponders debate on voting system changes

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wants one-on-one, no Green

Saganash drops F-bomb in Commons over federal approach to Trans Mountain

NDP’s reconciliation critic accused federal government of ‘wilfully’ violating constitutional duties

VIDEO: B.C. dairy farmer says Trump doesn’t understand the industry

‘They need supply management just as bad as we need to keep it’: sixth generation farmer Devan Toop

VIDEO: Death threat, racist comments spewed over empty seat on B.C. bus

Transit Police are investigating the incident, shared online by fellow passengers on Vancouver bus

Man faces 8 charges after Vancouver carjacking, pepper-spray attacks

Jesse William Swain has been charged with assault with a weapon, robbery and dangerous driving

Most Read