Parents for Children's Mental Health

Parents for Children's Mental Health

May 27, 2011 11:38 ET

Parents Call on Election Candidates to Support Improved Child and Youth Mental Health Services

Olympic medalist, Elizabeth Manley endorses Pledge for Child and Youth Mental Health

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 27, 2011) - Parents for Children's Mental Health (PCMH), is a non-profit organization, which supports families raising children and youth with mental illness, has launched the Pledge for Child and Youth Mental Health.

The online Pledge for Child and Youth Mental Health (www.pcmh.ca) is designed to raise public awareness about children's mental health issues and build support with candidates of all parties to reform children's mental health services and their delivery in Ontario. The Pledge asks candidates in the upcoming October 6 provincial election to endorse a statement of principles and practical measures, and also calls on supporters to make child and youth mental health an election issue.

The Pledge is endorsed by figure-skating champion and 1988 Calgary Olympic silver medalist, Elizabeth Manley. "Right now there is a potential for positive change in children and youth mental health services and the PCMH Pledge for Child and Youth Mental Health will help make those changes a reality. I'm 100 percent behind the Pledge and I'll be going after everyone I know to sign it and pass it on!"

Child and youth mental health services are inadequate, fragmented, underfunded and inconsistently delivered from one community to the next. Five out of six children with mental health problems do not receive any professional help at all and suicide remains the leading cause of non-accidental death among youth. Experts and advisory groups, including the Ontario Legislature's Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions have called for a 'radical transformation of mental health and addictions care' in Ontario. "Our goal is to educate candidates from all political parties so that after the October 6 election there will be dozens of child and youth mental health champions sitting on all sides of the legislature," said Sarah Cannon, Executive Director of PCMH.

The Pledge for Child and Youth Mental Health is a grassroots effort, focusing on the involvement of families and service providers. "The real transformation of mental health care is going to happen in communities, through stronger partnerships between parents and service providers, and a stronger role for families in making decisions about services for their child" said Cannon. "The Pledge campaign is one part of a larger movement to mobilize families and build effective mental health services based on the principle of family-centred care."

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