Toronto Mom Opens Mental Health Centre Because Her Daughter Didn't Have the Supports She Needed
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Toronto Mom Opens Mental Health Centre Because Her Daughter Didn’t Have the Supports She Needed

Moms are the best.

Spurred by her daughter's mental health challenges, Donna Green created a centre for teens and young adults. Photo courtesy of Stella's Place.

Spurred by her daughter’s mental health challenges, Donna Green created a centre for teens and young adults. Photo courtesy of Stella’s Place.

We often hear about, or experience ourselves, a lack of mental health services in the city. But few among us decide to fill that gap ourselves.

Donna Green did just that, as the CBC reports. Green’s daughter struggled with mental health issues in high school, and Green found that Canadian programs were mostly emergency-based and short-term.

So her daughter, Stella, went to a program in the U.S. for three years. But Green still felt there was a lack of peer counselling, which would give Stella the chance to talk to someone else who’d gone through what she was experiencing.

So Green founded Stella’s Place, thanks to private donations and provincial funding.

“We realized if we could create a program for young folks between the ages of 16 and 29, where so much of this stuff happens, wouldn’t that be something?” Green told the CBC. “To create a community, not a hospital, to work in partnership with young adults to really have a voice in what’s best for them…”

She should be commended for doing this. She wanted to help her daughter, and she knew that if Stella was underserved, that meant other young people were too.

Indeed, in the months since the centre opened, Green says hundreds of people have come through its doors, some from as far away as Hamilton and the Durham Region.

Mental health affects everyone—the oft-quoted stat is one in five people experiences mental health issues. The teen years can be especially difficult, as adolescents deal with new pressures at school and, often, changes in their social group.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, an estimated 10 to 20 per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness. And only one out of five who needs mental health services receives them.

Services are crucial. There must be places for people to turn to when they’re struggling. And a variety of assistance is needed, as Green can attest. In a perfect world, our governments would ensure this existed, without regular people having to step up and take on the task themselves.

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