2 RULES OF THE CONTESTEntries are to depicts one of the following three topics: Suicide; Mental Health; and Substance Abuse.Entrants between the ages of 6-14 are to submit one drawing or photo that represents suicide, mental health or substance abuse.Entrants between the ages of are to submit one 500 word essay which represents the impact suicide, mental health or substance abuse has had on them, their family, their community or Nunavut.
3 WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?Good mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. It enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment.When we are mentally healthy we can:form positive relationshipsuse our abilities to reach our potentialdeal with life’s challenges
4 How can we improve our MENTAL HEALTH? A few tips for positive mental health are:- talk about or express your feelings- exercise regularly- eat healthy meals- get enough sleep- spend time with friends and loved ones- develop new skills- relax and enjoy your hobbies- talk to a health professional
5 WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person thinks, behaves and interacts with other people. Some of the major types are: anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, personality disorders, eating disorders and depression. One in three Canadians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life.
6 What causes mental illness? Mental illness results from complex interactions between the mind, body and environment. Factors which can contribute to mental illness are:long-term and acute stressbiological factors (genetics, chemistry and hormones)use of alcohol, drugs and other substancesconstant negative thoughts and low self esteemsocial factors (isolation, financial problems, violence)These factors can be minimized by a strong and supportive community environment.
7 DEPRESSIONAs a teenager you go through many changes that affect your moods, behaviours and feelings. If these feelings last longer than a few weeks without improving, then you may be experiencing depression.Depression is more than just feeling sad. When you have depression you feel hopeless and that you can't see your way out.Many teens have questions that relate to their emotional and mental health. Today, we’re going to speak about some of the Mental Health Illnesses, we won’t go through all of them but if you want more information please go on the kidshelphone website and visit the section “Info Booth”
8 Some of the symptoms a person may experience include: losing interest in things they previously enjoyed, feeling irritable or angry, anxious, hopeless...Sometimes people get depressed after big changes in their lives like: a break up, the death of someone close or conflicts at home.Only a doctor can diagnose depression. Depression can be treated with counselling and at times medication is required as well.
9 EATING DISORDERSEating disorders can be very harmful to your health and in some cases can even be fatal. Eating disorders is a term used to describe four different types of disorders:Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by significant weight loss caused by excessive dieting.People who have Bulimia Nervosa are in a cycle of binge eating followed by purging to rid their body of the unwanted calories.
10 Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by episodes of binge eating but unlike bulimics, binge eaters don’t vomit to rid themselves of the calories.Most people who are compulsive overeaters recognize that they have a problem and they tend to use food to cope with stress and/or emotional problems.Eating disorders can be treated with counselling and medication could be required as well.Some of the myths you can talk about after the presentation of the eating disorders:Myth: Only teenage girls suffer from eating disorders. Reality: Many eating disorders begin in the teen years, but children, men and women of all ages can develop an eating disorder.Myth: You can tell someone has an eating disorder by looking at them. Reality: Some people are just naturally thin and don’t have an eating disorder.
11 ANXIETY DISORDERIt’s normal to feel stressed, worried, or scared from time to time, but it’s a problem if you feel that way most of the time. Anxiety disorders make you feel overwhelmed, and they are really disruptive to your life.Here are a few examples of topics found in the Info Booth section of the website. If you are looking for answers to specific topics, check out this area for information and tips on how to deal with what you are going through.
12 Social phobia disorder Social phobia disorder. This is the most common type of anxiety disorder. It makes you want to avoid social situations because you’re afraid of doing something that will embarrass you or make you stand out in some way.A Panic disorder is when a person experiences intense physical sensations when they’re stressed or upset.A specific Phobia disorder is an intense fear of one thing, like spiders, getting lost. This fear is accompanied by body sensations.Here are a few different types of anxiety disorders.Is anyone has got through an intense fear during their life ? Snakes, dark, dogs…
13 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This kind of anxiety makes you constantly think about (obsess) over something.Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a form of anxiety that can affect people who have experienced a very upsetting event or set of circumstances (Physical abuse or sexual assault).Separation anxiety disorder describes the feelings of panic and fear that kids experience when they are separated from their parent, home, or other trusted adults.You can ask to the students what are the common signs of an anxiety disorder?Examples: being afraid of the dark, crying a lot, avoiding your friends, obsessing about dying, being terrified of speaking up in class, blanking out or freezing up when something stressful happens, experience nightmares and flashbacks…Example for OCD: Someone who constantly worries about germs might wash their hands over and over again.If you think you have an anxiety disorder, it’s a good idea to talk about it with a parent, counselor, or other adult you trust. You can also try talking to your doctor or speaking to a counsellor at Kids Help Phone. Anxiety disorders can be treated with counselling and medication could be required as well.
14 PSYCHOSISThe most well-known type of psychosis is Schizophrenia, but there are other types too.Psychosis describes the experience of being disconnected from reality. People experiencing psychosis have difficulty telling what is real, and what is just in their minds.Some of the signs include: paranoia, hallucinations, changes in emotion, personality changes…To help, below you will find some examples of the signs for Schizophrenia, you can ask to the students if they can give you some examples before telling them the answers:Paranoia: feelings of being watched, talked aboutHallucinations: hearing voices, seeing things that aren’t thereChanges in emotion: feeling emotionless, anger, irritability, inappropriate reactionsProblems with memory, concentration, loss of motivation to do things
15 Who is at risk. Anyone can develop psychosis Who is at risk? Anyone can develop psychosis. Psychoses are most often diagnosed in late adolescence and early adulthood.Some things that put people at a greater risk include: family History, drug use and extreme stress.Psychosis is treatable. The sooner someone who has psychosis is diagnosed and receives treatment, the more effective it is.
16 ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER ADHD is a disorder which means a person has trouble focusing, is impulsive, and really active, to the point where it interferes with daily life.This means that they often aren’t able to focus on an activity for long periods of time, are over-active and unable to keep still or stop talking, act really impulsively without any thought of the consequences.ADHD is treatable and can be much easier andmanageable when you seek professional help.It usually develops in childhood.Signs and symptoms of ADHD:Unpredictable mood swings, being impatient, getting easily distracted, not able to do anything quietly, talking a lot…Because these symptoms could occur if someone has a number of other conditions, diagnosing ADHD and other attention deficit disorders is not straightforward.
17 Treatment should thought for all of mental health illnesses. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms talk about it with a parent, counselor or other adult you trust. You can also try talking to your doctor/nurse at the Public Health Center in your community or speaking to a counselor at Kids Help Phone.
18 Faces of Mental Health Illness 2012 Dustin Garron, 18, is a student at Carleton University and the founder of The Mental Health Project for Youth from Renfrew, Ontario.Dustin is no stranger to the often turbulent nature of the adolescent years and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and borderline personality disorder at a young age.After six failed suicide attempts, his seventh attempt resulted in a coma and being placed on life support for four days.Lets’ talk about the courageous “faces” of the campaign “Mental Health Awareness Week”. By sharing their stories, they are helping bring mental illness out from the shadows.Their experiences are proof that through proper diagnosis, treatment and awareness, people with mental illnesses can live productive and fulfilling lives.
19 For Dustin, Recovery is Possible. Dustin’s miraculous recovery inspired him to seek help, and it was during his stay at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario that Dustin came up with the idea for The Mental Health Project for Youth.The Mental Health Project for Youth is a not-for-profit organization run by youth, for youth, and offers peer support and services to residents agedDustin hopes to empower young Canadians with his courageous story and let them know they are not alone.For Dustin, Recovery is Possible.For more information about the campaign and the Mental Illness Awareness Week, check the website:
20 SUICIDE Suicide happens when a person has lost all hope. It is a final attempt to end really intense suffering, but it is not a solution.People who end their lives this way leave the people who care about them with a lifetime of sadness, confusion, hurt and despair.
21 Losing someone to suicide is heartbreaking. It hurts for a long time Losing someone to suicide is heartbreaking. It hurts for a long time. You might feel very angry at the person who died. Words can’t describe your pain, but here are some things that you might be experiencing: crying a lot, nightmares, wanting to die…Every person experiences a loss to suicide differently, but one thing is true for everyone: It is not your fault.That’s far from a complete list. A person who is grieving might experience one feeling more than the others, or come back to the same feelings over and over.Some people find the HEALING RITUALS help them through their grief. The idea is not to put the loss away but to do something meaningful to help you feel better. Here are some healing rituals that might work for you:Memory box (tickets, letters, mementos, write a poem… that remind you this person)Collage (photos of the person you lost and tape them to a giant board)Healing circle (talk about your grief: you’re not alone)Journal (explore your feelings: what I learned from you, when we went on vacation together…)PrayerSpending time in nature…
22 PREVENTING SUICIDE, IT IS POSSIBLE Suicide prevention starts with a question Are you ready to ask it?Breaking the silence sends a powerful message to someone that is okay to talk about what they are feeling and thinking, that they are not alone, and that you care. Asking someone about suicide doesn’t put the idea in their head, it gives them the chance to let their fear outand talk about other options.
23 SUBSTANCE ABUSEIn general, a drug is defined as any substance, other than food, which is taken to change the way the body and/or mind function.Which drugs are bad and which are ok?Not all drugs have the same potential to cause harm.Some drugs are produced and sold legally for medicinal purposes (you have to follow the directions of a doctor).
24 Some drugs are legal for adults but not children or teens Some drugs are legal for adults but not children or teens. Caffeine, inhalants, tobacco, and alcohol are examples of drugs that are legal for adults.Some drugs are produced and sold illegally. The most commonly used illegal drugs are marijuana, stimulants (cocaine…), LSD…Why do people use drugs or alcohol?There are lots of reasons that people start using drugs and alcohol: experimentation, pain relief, celebration, social pressures, to help cope traumatic life experiences, dependency…
25 What are the risks?Drug use becomes a problem when it results in negative consequences for the person using the drug.These may be physical, mental, social, emotional, legal, economic, or environmental consequences including: loss of motivation, unhappy relationships, increase health problems, increase crime and traffic accidentsSome people will develop a dependency and some will move on to more dangerous drugs and cause significant harm to themselves and possibly others.Stimulants: cocaine, crack, speed
26 What is addiction?Some people will develop a physical or psychological dependency on drugs and/or alcohol.When a person continues to use a drug despite negative consequences to him or herself or to other people, this is often referred to as drug or substance abuse.There can be physical, emotional and social consequences of drug use.
27 Get help now – you choose how Anyone can check out the Topic and Link Library – there’s tons of info there too…
28 For more information about the contest don’t hesitate to contact Embrace Life Council. Toll free: or
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