It’s an issue that often gets the blind eye, yet globally, stares many people right in the face like a plaguing disease.
It’s been referred to as an epidemic of sorts. A hot-button topic. A serious health issue. In many regards, the track record and attention on head injuries in sports make it hard to deny any of these labels.
Health Canada was recently targeted in reducing the alcoholic energy drinks in B.C.Â It all started on May 25,Â 2012, as an article was released by Sarah Schmidt in The Vancouver Sun expressing the rise and danger of alcoholic energy drinks. Because of this, the topic of mixing energy drinks with alcohol has been an overwhelming popular topic in media today.Â This topic is concerning because youth are the highest target to this dangerous epidemic.
With so much pressure from the media to look a certain way, teens often succumb to the glamorous end result they expect to have after buying a certain product or getting a certain hairstyle. Trying to look our best isnâ€™t a bad thing, but the line must be drawn, and probably one of the most detrimental things you can do is getting a tan.
What have you done for at-risk youth lately? I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™ve just attended the Salon Series: Liberated Transparency, which makes me a better person than you. But I digress. Salon Series is a place where speakers are invited to talk about various issues around the city, and everyone is invited to share their ideas in an open, positive setting.
This Salon, titlted â€œLiberated Transparencyâ€, was about mental health and youth at risk. It was organized by Sarah Jamieson, a self-described â€œsports philanthropreneurâ€, and one of the most vibrant, energetic people I have ever met (which is small wonder, seeing as how she has probably run enough marathons to go around the Earth once or twice). She started off with her own story about why she cares about this issue â€“ an abusive stepfather, a broken childhood and a bipolar mother who committed suicide three years ago.
The first two guest speakers were Kristina Dixon from the Canadian Mental Health Association and three police officers from Odd Squad Productions. They spoke about their efforts at youth outreach, and about what we can do to help those at risk. The Odd Squad also focused on the issues of drug abuse and prevention.
However, the highlight of the night was Alana Stockford, a partially disabled teen who attends grade 11 at Heritage Woods Secondary School. She recounted her experiences as a â€œdisabledâ€ person growing up in Vancouver, telling a touching story of alienation, neglect, and lost friendship. However, it was just as much a story of hope and a brighter future, not only for her but for everyone affected by issues of mental health.
Overall, the Liberated Transparency Salon was a refreshing reminder of the realities of the often-neglected topic of mental health and youth at risk in our society. We still have a very limited understanding of what it is like to be afflicted by mental diseases, and if history has taught us anything, itâ€™s that dialogue is an excellent way of getting to know each other.
Photo from www.sarahmjamieson.wordpress.com