by Andrea Arnold

Two and a half years ago when Robson Valley Community Services (RVCS) Child and Youth Mental Health worker Jenn Wellwood had the idea to hold a video contest to showcase the importance of Youth Mental Health her goal was to promote a positive picture.

“One in five youth suffer from a mental health issue” she said. “I wanted the community to get involved to help take away the negative stigma.”

According to Wellwood, youth are seeing that they are not alone in their struggles. She encourages conversation starters such as, “How can I help” or “Let’s talk about it” to open the lines of communication.

Canadian Child and Youth Mental Health Day is May 7, 2019. This is also the day that Wellwood will be kicking off the Youth Mental Health Video Contest.

“Our goal is to get youth to think and be aware of their own mental awareness,” she said.

She hopes that students across the Robson Valley, ages 12-19, will take the opportunity to show what this year’s topic “I care about the whole you,” means to them.

Wellwood asks only that the video submissions be positive and 30-90 seconds long.

Submissions can be a montage, a poem, a song, a monologue, or anything else that speaks the message each individual wants to express. Videos can be created on any device and dropped off in person at RVCS offices in McBride or Valemount, or emailed to [email protected] by 4 pm on May 31.

Several businesses are on board with this year’s contest and prizes include a white water rafting trip for four, mountain bikes, helmets, lunches at local diners, and gift cards.

“I am really proud to support the work that RVCS is doing to help reduce the stigma of mental health,” said MLA Shirley Bond. “It is critically important especially for young people to know that support is there if they can just find the strength and courage to talk about the issue. One of the most powerful ways to reach young people is to have other young people provide motivation. That’s why I love the video contest and the potential it has to reach youth in the Robson Valley Region and beyond.”

Wellwood wants to let youth know there is a 24-hour crisis line available, 310-6789, and the doctors in the valley are always available to youth. If a teen walks into a clinic and says that they need to see a doctor now, she says that the doctors have been amazing in making the time to talk to them. Wellwood hopes the youth in the community will realize they have places to turn.

“It can be a friend, a family member, a pastor, a teacher, a doctor, a police officer, or anyone,” she said. “There are so many doors in the community.”  Please walk through one and start talking.”