Why Is This So Important
The high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people … argue that the skills for happiness should be taught in school. There is substantial evidence that skills that increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement, and meaning can be taught to children. -Martin Seligman
The ability to recognize and produce humour are skills that are increasingly more important in our society as they require intelligence, social awareness, and communication. Programs such as [this] that foster these skills directly, can have profound benefits for the students involved. These include increased learning, self-esteem, problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, resilience, and an overall improved quality of life. [This] project is especially innovative and has the potential to be a life changing experience. –Dr. Brian King, author of The Laughing Cure
Why we think our Key Objectives are important
- Our programing provides an engaging forum for conversations about mental health and well being
While the stigma associated with mental health is decreasing it is evident that there is still a long way to go. The incidence of mental health is high among children and adolescents so addressing mental wellness in public schools where 93% of Canada’s youth population resides is logical and sensible.
- Our programming develops healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety while promoting kindness and inclusion
Reinforcing and developing skills around kindness, inclusion, and respect has never been more important in this challenging global world. Social media enables connectivity around the globe where we are exposed, more than ever, to different ways of living and thinking. “Respect for self and others” is an attitude that needs to be developed and practiced. Teachers confirm that young people often find life stressful. Bullying and cyber bullying, peer pressure, uncertain job markets, access to more information than ever before in history, confusion around paths to success, and many other issues result in student anxiety and an increased need for effective stress management. Keeping issues in perspective and being able to laugh at oneself and situations are important life skills.
- Our programming builds confidence and mindfulness through personal storytelling and humour
Young people need to be confident and comfortable with who they are and practise continual mindfulness around their sense of self and well-being; identifying and writing about their personal issues accomplishes this in a fun way.
- Our programming develops written and oral literacy skills in a fun environment
Let’s have FUN – and learn at the same time! This programming aligns with the curriculum and enables the development of language and communications skills in an engaging format that students and teachers love! They write about and perform their own life experiences.
Teachers appreciate the opportunity to inject fun into learning and confirm that the development of transferrable life skills such as problem solving, collaboration and public speaking is highly valuable and that our program enhances social skills which reduces conflicts among students. The program’s focus on character development in areas such ascreativity, gratitude, and honesty is useful for all students and is broadly applicable for the greater good.
Here is some alarming data and information on youth mental wellness
Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds (Canadian Mental Health Association)
The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million. (Canadian Mental Health Association)
Young people are most likely to experience mental health disorders than any other age group and yet they have the least access to mental health care. Seventy-five percent of mental health problems begin before the age of 25 years, 50% between 12 and 25 years. There are services designed for younger children and older adults but the gap in service is evident: the system is weakest where it should be strongest. (Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health, Canada, website, June 2018)
“In our 21st century world, media, particularly social media, guarantee that today’s children are bombarded with serious and even frightening issues they need help navigating. Bullying, gangs and even terrorism were unimaginable for most of today’s adults when they were young. Yet, most of us who deal with kids on a regular basis tend to focus on these matters to the exclusion of things that make life lighter and provide balance.” (Sue Stephenson, author, Kidding Around)
Up to 70 percent of mental health problems begin in childhood or adolescence. As many as one in five people in Ontario between the ages of four and 16 experience some form of mental health problem at any given time, yet fewer than one in six children and youth receive the specialized treatment services they require. (Child and Mental Health and Addictions in Ontario, MHASEF – ICES 2015)