Making the right connections - McCreary Centre Society

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Making the right connections

Promoting positive mental health among BC youth

McCreary Centre Society

Making the right connections Promoting positive mental health among BC youth

The McCreary Centre Society is a nongovernment not-for-profit committed to improving the health of BC youth through research, education and community based projects. Founded in 1977, the Society sponsors and promotes a wide range of activities and research to identify and address the health needs of young people in the province.

Copyright: McCreary Centre Society, 2011 ISBN: 978-1-926675-12-1 McCreary Centre Society 3552 Hastings Street East Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7 www.mcs.bc.ca For enquiries or to order copies of this report, please e-mail: [email protected]

Funding for this report was provided by the BC Ministry of Health. Funding for the Adolescent Health Survey was provided by the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Children and Family Development; Child Health BC; Northern Health Authority; and Centre for Addictions Research BC, University of Victoria. Funding for the youth focus groups and workshops was provided by the Vancouver Foundation; Office of the Representative for Children and Youth; Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Children and Family Development; Province of British Columbia, and Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.

Project team Annie Smith Executive Director Elizabeth Saewyc Research Director Colleen Poon Research Associate Duncan Stewart Research Associate Carly Hoogeveen Research Assistant Maya Peled Research Associate Stephanie Martin Youth Participation Coordinator/ Report design and layout

Suggested citation Special thanks are due to the youth who completed the surveys and who participated in focus groups and workshops which are referenced in this report. Their contributions are greatly appreciated. Quotes from some of these youth are included throughout this report.

Smith, A., Poon, C., Stewart, D., Hoogeveen, C., Saewyc, E., and the McCreary Centre Society (2011). Making the right connections: Promoting positive mental health among BC youth. Vancouver, BC: McCreary Centre Society.

Table of contents

KEY FINDINGS

5

INTRODUCTION

6

The survey 6 The analysis 6 Youth input 7 Limitations

7

MENTAL HEALTH OF BC YOUTH

9

Self-esteem 9 Stress and despair 9 Self-harm 10 Suicide 11 Limiting mental or emotional condition

11

ADDITIONAL MEASURES OF POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH

13

General health 13 Positive body image

13

School safety 14 Aspirations for the future

15

Spirituality/Religion

16

ACCESSING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

17

YOUTH AT RISK FOR EXPERIENCING MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES

18

Sexually abused youth

18

Physically abused youth 20 Immigrant youth 21 Teased or harassed youth 22 Youth with an unstable home life

24

Table of contents continued Youth living in poverty 25 Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth

26

Youth with a health condition or disability

27

Multiple risks

28

MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER HEALTH AND RISK BEHAVIOURS

29

Risky sexual behaviour

29

Nutrition

29

Injury prevention

29

Sport and exercise

29

Substance use 30 PROMOTING POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH

31

Support networks 31 Extracurricular activities

36

Youth engagement 38 Skills and competencies 39 A FURTHER LOOK AT PROTECTIVE FACTORS

45

Family connected