By Brandon Gillet
Algonquin child and youth care staff and students chose took part in the Right By You campaign on Nov.20 to honour the UN’s Universal Children’s Day.
Right By You is a nationwide initiative that aims to gather signatures for a petition to the federal government, arguing there isn’t enough funding put towards youth mental health.
The national campaign has been ongoing for a few months and is very populargoing through schools and public places like malls. Algonquin was the only campaign event in Ottawa on Universal Children’s Day for Right by You.
“Though, all of the child and youth care programs at the Ontario Colleges are doing an advocacy program today,” said child and youth care worker professor Stephanie Griffin.
First-year students manned the booth in the Student Commons while second and third-year students took petitions to their placements which they are currently doing.
“We’ve been able to go outside the confines of the college and allowed our students to get signatures throughout the Ottawa community, and very far reaching given we have 200 students on placement throughout the city,” said Griffin.
According to program co-ordinator Vicki Grisim, the campaign, which is put on by the Partners for Mental Health, runs nationally from October to about June and brings a variety of involvement.
“Somebody came in today; she is a community blogger and volunteer from Sault Ste. Marie. She has signed up and blogs about it. There’s lots of people for different things who are involved,” said Grisim.
Students of the program spent the day engaging students and gathering signatures for what will become a federal request for youth mental health funding.
“We’ve just been going around spreading awareness about the campaign and getting people to sign the petition, it’s a crazy issue in Canada right now, in Ontario, in Ottawa,” said Leah Ebbs, child and youth care program student. “A lot of kids suffer from mental health issues and they don’t get the treatment they need. If we get treatment or therapy for them when they are young, it eliminates future problems.”
Ebbs was excited to take part in raising awareness in what she said is an increasingly serious issue.
“I think it’s great, I think more people should be down here,” said Ebbs. “Whether you have experienced mental health issues yourself or it has touched somebody close to you it’s such a common issue now that it will end up affecting almost everybody at some point in their lives.”