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Mental Health

When mental health help is needed, who will be there to listen? You can help local people find the support they need, when they need it.

Mental Health

When mental health help is needed, who will be there to listen?

You can help local people find the support they need, when they need it.  

Depression. Anxiety. Grief. PTSD.

In Canada, one in five people struggle with their mental health. It could be a neighbour struggling with anxiety, a sibling coping with bipolar disorder, a friend processing past abuse, or a parent dealing with depression after the loss of a loved one. Without timely, appropriate support, people facing mental health issues are at greater risk of harm.

Mental health challenges affect all aspects of life

When someone’s mental health becomes compromised, it can impact their ability to work, live independently, or just get through the day.


Counselling is reported as the greatest local need, but it is also the least likely to be met.


Understanding where to go and how to get help can add another layer of stress.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between 10 and 24 years.

Asking for help isn’t easy, but getting help should be

A child’s mental health affects the way they think, feel and act.  It also affects the way they grow, develop and move into adulthood. 

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, 70% of persons living with a mental health illness see their symptoms begin before the age 18. Youth who need mental health services rarely know where to turn and are often not well supported.

Toxic Stress

The experiences that we have in the early years of our lives impact the way our brains develop. Positive stresses, like starting the first day of school, can actually help our brains develop in a more healthy way, as they prepare us for future challenges.

Traumatic events, such as losing a loved one, can be tolerable stresses that won’t cause lasting damage to developing brains, so long as supportive caregivers help buffer the stress response. Toxic stress, caused by things such as abuse or neglect, disrupts the healthy development of the brain. When children are repeatedly exposed to toxic stress, without the support of a caregiver, they are at an incredibly high risk for physical and mental health problems later in life.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)  are experiences that harm children’s developing brains so profoundly that the effects show up decades later; they cause much of chronic disease, most mental health issues and are at the root of most violence. 

Building Healthy Brains

Supporting kids to develop the skills they need to thrive and make emotionally healthy social connections, United Way invests in programs that help young children develop a sense of belonging in their families, schools, and wider communities. By focusing on early childhood, these comparatively small investments result in lifetime societal benefits.

We know that the first five years of a child’s life are a critical time for brain development. Experiences over these early years greatly influence a child’s future health, education, wealth, ability to have healthy relationships, and overall happiness.

When we work together to set children up for success by supporting their development in the early years, we give them the opportunity to live happier, healthier lives, reducing the risk for mental health problems, and ultimately building stronger communities.

Raising Awareness of Local Issues

To increase public awareness, United Way staff facilitate The Brain Architecture Game to build understand about the powerful role of relationships on early brain development.  This engaging tabletop game offers a compelling perspective on the lifelong impact of early childhood experiences.

The game is a 75-90 minute experience optimized for groups of 4-6 people per table. It can be played in small workshops, conferences, and large events, with as few as 8, or as many as 300 participants.

No one should suffer in silence

People of all ages, genders, and ethnicities can struggle with their mental health, through all stages of life. People who face these challenges may have trouble focusing at school, parenting and managing family life, or finding and keeping a good job.

Thanks to our donors, United Way invests funds where they are needed most and will have the greatest impact. Together with your support, we can ensure more people in our communities have access to the local mental health and crisis supports they need, when they need it.

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