Teens encouraged to Speak Up

White Rock and South Surrey high school teens will benefit from Speak Up, following a $432,000 donations from Coast Capital Savings.

A program aimed at helping young people speak openly about mental health and substance-use concerns is coming to Semiahmoo Peninsula high schools.

Speak Up was created by the child and youth mental health team at Fraser Health with a $432,000 donation from Coast Capital Savings.

The first program of its kind in B.C., Speak Up is designed to engage teens and young adults to share and learn from each other through peer support, targeted education in schools and a new online community: SpeakUp@mindcheck.ca

Described as a “by youth for youth” initiative, it is for those both with and without lived experience with mental health and/or substance-use issues.

“This awareness and sharing helps them recognize when they may need help for their own personal situation and where to find it,” said Dr. Karen Tee, leader of the Fraser Health team that created Speak Up.

According to Fraser Health, one in five B.C. youth will experience a mental health issue serious enough to cause significant distress. Seventy-five per cent of mental health and substance-use issues begin by age 24 and often go unrecognized and untreated.

The Coast Capital donation that made Speak Up possible – given to Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation – is the largest corporate contribution to youth and young adult mental health programs ever received in Fraser Health.

For more, visit www.fraserhealth.ca