Something is happening inside the minds of young people. One in five Canadian youth are part of a mental health crisis that is undermining—and far too often ending—their lives as they struggle to find effective help that may never arrive, a year-long investigation has found.
Coordinated by the Investigative Journalism Bureau at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Toronto Star, Generation Distress brought together a team of more than 70 researchers from 10 Canadian and U.S. universities, NBC News and the National Observer. The project is based on thousands of documents and mental health data from 40 universities and colleges and interviews with more than 200 young people, academics, clinicians, post-secondary administrators and teachers.
This generation of children and young people is making unprecedented calls for help amid rising anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and self-harm that is undermining their academics, personal relationships and careers. In growing numbers, they are taking their lives.
The Star/Investigative Journalism Bureau filed dozens of freedom of information requests to better understand and measure mental health on the campuses of Canada’s colleges of universities. Of the more than 100 schools approached, 40 provided meaningful data. The results reveal a post-secondary system overwhelmed by unmet need.
Kyle Gardiner was well educated and travelled, supported by two engaged, professional parents and dozens of friends. But his mental health descent at university was never fully comprehended by his friends and family. The boy they saw filled with promise, engaged and focused on his future, had been preparing something very different.
Gardiner was memorialized in an Aurora funeral home on Feb. 15 of this year by 200 friends and family who had little understanding of the seriousness of his pain. Sue and Terry Gardiner, Kyle's parents, speak about their son in this video produced by the Toronto Star.
The IJB/Star’s Generation Distress series is a multi-part look of the many issues surrounding mental health, young people and the barriers they face in getting treatment, and what solutions might be available to help fix a challenged system.
To talk about this series, This Matters is joined by Robert Cribb, an investigative and foreign affairs reporter at the Toronto Star and the director of the IJB.
The university denies the student’s allegations that it failed to provide mental health accommodations. A national review of post-secondary student mental health complaints shows steep odds against students’ success, an investigation by the Investigative Journalism Bureau and the Toronto Star has found.
Amid a generational explosion in mental health demands, a question lingers in every statistic on youth depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation: why is this happening?
While today’s young people are the most willing in history to broadcast their struggles with mental health, they also face new and unique stressors: Constant self-comparison; unattainable social media lifestyles; climate and pandemic threats; and, economic shifts undermining job security and career stability for millions.
Today’s young people face what a growing body of research and experts call an emerging public health crisis.
Universities across Canada have introduced controversial involuntary leave policies that empower school officials to remove students struggling with serious psychological challenges.
School administrators argue these policies are designed to encourage students who pose a risk to themselves or others to get help before safely returning to their studies.
Climate change-induced angst among youth is helping fuel growing youth mental health instability across North America. Nearly half — 49 per cent — of the 152 post-secondary students in Canada and the U.S. interviewed for the investigation listed “existential angst” over climate change, job prospects and future economic stability as one of their mental health stressors.
As dozens of Canadian post-secondary schools supplement their on-campus counselling with online service from private firms, questions are mounting about quality of care and privacy, an investigation by the IJB and Toronto Star has found.
Thousands of young Canadians with mental health challenges are being treated in one-stop mental health centres that bring a battery of specialists under one roof to offer medication, therapy, addiction treatment, and housing and career support. It’s just one of the ways experts say Canada can combat its youth mental health crisis.
As the second wave of the pandemic reinstituted social restrictions and shuttered schools in many places this winter, three of Ontario’s largest children’s hospitals have seen spikes in youth suicidal ideation, self-harm and suicide attempts.
Christian Roman's case is among dozens reviewed as part of a year-long investigation into spiking youth mental health demands co-ordinated by the Investigative Journalism Bureau.
They detail increasingly complex disputes between students and their post-secondary institutions over academic standards, differing expectations of mental health care on campus and legal requirements schools must meet to provide reasonable accommodations to the growing numbers of students suffering with challenges.
As the number of apprehensions of youth in mental health crisis spike across Canada, concern is growing over their impact on vulnerable young minds, an Investigative Journalism Bureau investigation has found.
North America’s youth are facing an unprecedented crisis in mental health and COVID-19 has only made it worse. Over the past year, more than two dozen young journalists, including many from the youth-run blog A Teen Perspective, conducted interviews with their peers as part of Generation Distress, an Investigative Journalism Bureau/Toronto Star investigation, to understand how a changing world has impacted their state of mind.
America’s teens and young adults report record levels of mental-health issues, and college counsellors are reporting ever-increasing demand for their services. The demands have only escalated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Federal statistics show roughly 16 to 20 percent of youths suffer from mental illness and behavioural issues—including anxiety, depression, attention-deficit disorders and other conditions. Along with therapies like counselling, classroom aides and accommodations, many get medication. Often those prescriptions are off-label. Medical studies and lawsuits show adverse events are not unusual.
For many First Nations youth in Canada, who suffer from some of the highest suicide rates in the world, culturally sensitive counselling and community healing practices remain inaccessible.
An analysis of key mental health indicators for First Nations youth —— including antidepressant prescriptions, suicide attempts, self-reported disorders and access to support —— reveals a strained system of care failing to meet the needs of desperate young people.
A joint investigation by the Toronto Star and the Investigative Journalism Bureau has done an analysis of key mental health indicators for First Nations youth, including antidepressant prescriptions, suicide attempts, self-reported disorders and access to support, revealing a strained system of care failing to meet the needs of desperate young people.
After struggling for decades with her mental health for most of her life, Jaclyn Carr has found resilience in found resilience in traditional drumming and singing.
But for many other First Nations youth in Canada, who suffer from some of the highest suicide rates in the world, culturally sensitive counselling and community healing practices remain inaccessible.
The IJB expands on reporting on Indigenous youth mental health issues first published in the Toronto Star in its first-ever long-form podcast episode.