PUBLIC AWARENESS AND OUTREACH
AMI-Québec is committed to educating parents, teachers, students and the community about early detection in order to avert the devastation that long-term mental illness can cause.
Our free public awareness and outreach program offers a wide range of presentations in various settings, including schools, universities, and community organizations. A trained presenter opens the session by explaining the different major mental health issues, including a description of mental illnesses, warning signs, and coping strategies. The presenter will then introduce a volunteer speaker to share his/her personal story on how they overcame their struggles with mental illness in themselves or in a loved one. A question and answer period follows.
Many mental health issues begin in adolescence. When students learn about mental health issues, they are more aware of warning signs in themselves or in their friends. Mental health problems can interfere with a student’s behaviour and performance. Often such problems go unrecognized, leading to a downward spiral in the student’s academic and social success. Students may become aggressive, suicidal or start using drugs or alcohol in an effort to cope. If caught early, these problems need not develop into lifelong patterns or interrupt a student’s life.
In Québec, it is estimated that 3% of 13 to 19 year olds suffer from clinical depression and that only 30% receive treatment. Those with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness often grow up to be adults with even more severe and persistent disorders. The best hope for children at risk for serious mental illness lies in early detection, and this should be possible during childhood – the most intensely watched developmental period in life.
AMI-Québec has collaborated with over 70 high schools, CEGEPS, universities, and community organizations in Montreal to demystify mental illness and sensitize students to its causes and triggers.
“I thought it was very brave of her to come to the classroom and share her story with the class…”
– Student, grade 8, Hudson High School
While our presentations take place mainly on the island of Montreal, we can also present over Skype to schools and organizations across Quebec.
To request a presentation please click HERE to fill out a request form. To discuss an existing request, or for other inquiries, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 514-486-1448.
If you are now productively managing your illness or that of your family member and would like to share your story of recovery as part of our presentations, please email email@example.com or call 514-486-1448. An interview and training will be required.
AMI-Québec has written brochures that are geared specifically for teens and a limited supply are distributed to students during presentations. The brochures can be downloaded here:
Below are links for those interested in introducing their own educational programs in high schools:
FRIENDS for Life
FRIENDS for Life is a resilience-building program that helps to prevent anxiety and depression in children and youth. Developed in Australia and evaluated extensively for more than ten years, the program teaches cognitive, behavioural, and emotional skills and enhances self-esteem and the ability to cope with feelings of fear, worry, depression and anxiety. With a rate of 15% of preschoolers who manifest atypically high levels of depression and anxiety (Sylvana M. Coté, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, September 2009), FRIENDS for Life serves as a wake up call and a potentially important response.
AMI–Québec introduced the program in Québec through a collaboration with the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the East-Island Network for English-Language Services (REISA). Since 2010 FRIENDS has been introduced in a number of schools in Montréal and surrounding regions and has been well received by teachers, parents, and the children themselves.
If you have further questions about the FRIENDS program, call AMI at 514-486-1448 (1-877-303-0264 outside Montreal).