Mental Health, Youth and Sexual Violence: An FAQ

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By Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, White Ribbon Campaign, and OPHEA

What is mental health, and why is it especially important to young people?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Mental health problems can include panic and anxiety, depression and other mood problems, psychosis, eating problems and other emotional, coping or addiction problems.

It is estimated that around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have mental health problems. About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Without support, mental health problems can have a significant impact on a young person’s ability to engage with and succeed in their studies: “young people with mental health disorders are at great risk for dropping out of school”. As they grow older, additional challenges can accumulate, with “diminished career options arising from leaving school prematurely” and an overall “effect on productivity” and well-being.

Challenges also exist in providing helpful responses to young people dealing with mental health problems. Children’s Mental Health Ontario shares, for example, that:

  • 28% of students report not knowing where to turn when they wanted to talk to someone about mental health¹
  • Black youth are significantly under-represented in mental health and treatment-oriented services and over represented in containment-focused facilities²
  • First Nations youth die by suicide about 5 to 6 times more often than non-Aboriginal youth
  • LGBTQ youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers.

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Bystander Intervention Skills

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You can interrupt sketchy behaviour at a bar, concert, or a party to prevent
sexual violence.

These skills are new for lots of folks! Just like first aid, these strategies require learning, relearning, and practice.

SACHA has got your back! If you see something sketchy and you unsure how to take action, you can call SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line to chat about ideas and options – 905.525.4162.

The number one action you can take RIGHT NOW is:

Bystander Intervention Skills

Delegate

Don’t go it alone. Gather your peeps. Who is near that can help?A friend? Security staff? Even if it’s just to validate that the behaviour is not OK.

  • “I think she needs our help, but I don’t know what to do. Have any ideas?”
  • “Will you watch while I go chat with them?”

Direct

Approach either the person being targeted or the person doing the harassing and be direct.

  • “Are you OK?”
  • “Can I help you?”
  • “That’s not OK.”
  • “You need to stop.”

Distract

Think of a way to distract the folks involved in the situation: either the person being targeted or the person doing the harassing.

  • “Can you take a pic of my friends and I?”
  • “What time is it?”
  • “Where’s the washrooms?”
  • “That’s a FAB outfit! Where did you get it?”
  • “My friend’s gone missing. Can you help me find them?”

Document

Make a record or keep your eye on the situation in case it escalates.

Bystander Intervention by SACHA

 

Immediate Online SACHA Support!

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NEW! Through a pilot, we’re able to offer immediate support online or over text.

Just like our 24 Hour Support Line, immediate support is available to survivors, their friends, families, co-workers, and classmates.

How does it work?

The online chat can be accessed through SACHA’s website, on the Home page. The texting number is 647-977-5908. It’s a Toronto number till December only, but no worries, it is us! For the online chat to work, please ensure that you have Flash enabled on your browser.

At this point it’s a pilot with the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, from June to December 2017; but we hope to be able to extend this service beyond December 2017.

Currently support through online chats and texting is available:

  • Mondays 6pm-midnight
  • Fridays 8pm-2am

The awesome supportive listening we offer on our 24 Hour Line = 905.525.4162 – is always there for survivors and their supporters too!

 

 

Messages of Support for Survivors

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final poster mapsOn November 5th 2016, we organized the 3rd annual Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair. We asked folks who attended, tabled, organized, and volunteered at the fair to contribute their words, drawings, and collages to our collective zine to give messages of support to survivors. This zine is a collection of ideas, hopes, images, and stories that show up, and spread love and support, for all survivors.

From SACHA with strength, courage, and healing: here are your messages of support for survivors.

May is Sexual Violence Prevention Month.

If you would like a free copy of the zine stop by SACHA’s office during business hours – 3rd floor of 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON.

We Heart SACHA Volunteers

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we heart sacha volunteers

SACHA volunteers donated 10 454 hours last year.

Volunteers warmly listen on our support line, organize events, give important input on committees, and bring their general intersectional feminist awesomeness to SACHA.

We appreciate their skills and gifts SO MUCH!

No jokes, SACHA would not exist without these exquisite humans.

If you know a wonderful SACHA volunteer, please ask them if they’d like a hug or a high five and tell them it’s from us.

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#NationalVolunteerWeek #welovevolunteers #HamOnt

What Has Been Helpful In Your Healing?

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Healing is hard work. The effects of sexual and emotional harm are complicated and make the path of a survivor unclear, nuanced, and volatile. What works for one person might not for another, and even what works for one person at one time, might not work at another. It can be draining to be constantly on the alert for what kind of care you need at each given moment, but with patience and support it does get easier.

Here are a few thoughts passers-through in the SACHA office have about what’s helping them heal right now:

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All the Take Back the Night Info You Ever Wanted!

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Here’s all the info you could ever want about this powerful event.

When: Thursday, October 13th

6pm – We Gather
7pm – We Rally
7:30pm – We March

Where: Hamilton City Hall – 71 Main Street, Hamilton ON

Who: TBTN centers the experiences of women and gender non-conforming folks. We invite men to cheer the march on from Gore Park.

Some quick links about:

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