A group of fourth-year nursing students at UBC Okanagan are passionate about promoting youth mental health in the community.
April Coulson, Amanda Sakamoto, Samaya Fentiman and Kyla MacPhail are on a mission to make Vernon a safer, healthier and happier place for male youth through support, education, resource expansion and community development.
“Our aim is to promote awareness of adolescent mental health and to encourage a supportive and inclusive environment for youth to engage in personal growth and development,” said Fentiman.
Specifically, they intend to address barriers and issues faced by male youth in the community by developing a six-week program that has the potential to become an established group.
“Mental health issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, bullying/violence, and substance abuse/use are some of the primary health problems experienced by young people in their teens and early 20s,” she said. “It is estimated that one in five young people will develop a mental disorder that requires professional intervention.
“Many other young people struggle with mild to moderate mental health problems that impair a young person’s ability to function at home, at school or work, and with their peers.”
As a means to launch this support group and encourage male youth to engage in this initiative, and in partnership with the Vernon Family Resource Centre and Health Promoting Schools, the nursing students are bringing a speaker from Vancouver, David Hatfield, to hold a one-day workshop Thursday for a group of 30 young men, ages 13 to 16, in the community.
Hatfield is a leadership consultant and facilitator specializing in the design and delivery of transformative, experiential education. He will speak on what it is to be a man today, and this will facilitate the development of positive coping and enable youth to connect with the community, their peers and available resources.
“Fundraising efforts are under way and we encourage local businesses to get involved and support this initiative and youth in the North Okanagan,” said Fentiman. “We will follow up after the presentation to recognize the sponsors of this important event and all funds raised will go towards the development and implementation of the male adolescent program in addition to funding the David Hatfield presentation.
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