One in three Canadians will experience mental health issues in their lifetime and 50% of all mental disorders begin by age 14 according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
As part of Canadian Mental Health week, the Here4Peers Program launched youth-driven activities throughout the week of May 6-12 across the Vancouver School Board.
The Here4Peers Program is a peer-led Mental Wellness program geared towards elementary and secondary students and aims to reduce the stigma of mental health. The program pairs mentors from Grade 12 to facilitate workshops for students in Grade 7 who are transitioning into high school the next year. According to the Here4Peers Program coordinator, Ashley Currie, “Students entering high school often experience stress and anxiety.”
The pilot project works in conjunction with the Vancouver School Board with training provided by a Vancouver Police Department facilitator. The program started last year and has doubled its capacity in the 2018/2019 school year delivering 75 workshops and training 130 Youth Facilitators from secondary schools like David Thompson, Vancouver Technical, Eric Hamber, and John Oliver.
The Here4Peers Program is funded by the Vancouver Police Foundation in partnership with the Vancouver School Board, Canadian Mental Health Association (Vancouver-Fraser Branch), Vancouver Coastal Health, and the City of Vancouver.