FullSizeRender 10Anxiety and Depression are on the rise in Canada and across the world. What’s particularly concerning is the risk factor for depression and anxiety in teen girls.

In Canada, one in four people will have an anxiety disorder within their lifetimes. That is 25 % of our population!

3.2 Million Canadian Youth between the ages of 12-19 are at risk for developing depression…that is a staggering number considering there are just over 10 million youth in Canada.

Suicide (which is linked to depression and anxiety) accounts for 24% of deaths in 15-24 year olds and is the leading cause of death for this age group, second only to car accidents.

Depression and anxiety are often caused by our brain interpreting daily stressors and tells us that we’re not safe, even when we’re not in immediate danger. These feelings can interfere with daily life and make us withdraw from the world, resulting in a feeling that we don’t belong.

We are all touched by mental illness personally or through people we know, but we often feel powerless to help. But we’re not completely powerless! This challenge isn’t meant to cure anxiety or depression, but IT IS designed to encourage and foster prosocial school and work cultures.

There is a growing body of compelling research that demonstrates how beneficial safe and supportive cultures are for promoting creativity, encouraging individual and group achievement and innovation, but most of all, fostering a deep sense of belonging and significance in anyone who identifies as a member of that culture.

When we enter a school, the culture greets us at the door and we usually decide in that moment, whether it’s safe to be our true selves or whether we should send forth, a modified, more protective representative of ourselves into the school.

When we trust the people around us enough to be vulnerable with our fears and challenges, it makes us stronger, more creative, and inspired to make the world a better place. When I know that I can admit my mistakes or acknowledge that I may not always have the answers, when I allow people I trust to help and support me, I am able to spend my energies focused on the bigger picture, as opposed to maintaining the façade of who I think I should present to the world.