WATCH — Time to take mental health seriously, teen activist says

Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2020-11-20 08:00

Diabetes took a toll beyond the physical

After spending 11 of his 15 years on the planet battling a serious illness, Anwar Boutahar has learned a thing or two about managing negative feelings.

You’ve got to let them out, the teen activist from Toronto told CBC Kids News.

The trick is finding somebody who will listen.

“I'm fighting for the right to have somebody listen to me and to have somebody to talk to.”

Anwar was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was only four years old.

Kids with the disease can’t produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which means sugar builds up in their blood.

They need to have regular injections or use a machine called an insulin pump to stay healthy.

Anwar told CBC Kids News that managing the condition took a toll on his mental health.

“My self-esteem went down, my confidence went down. I didn't really have a lot of friends,” he said.

It sometimes felt like adults weren’t taking his feelings seriously, Anwar added.

He set out to change that by talking publicly about the impact a physical disease can have on a child’s mental health.

That included meeting with Canadian politicians on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2018.

Click play to watch Anwar tell his story in his own words:

Interested in watching more profile videos featuring Canadian teen activists? Check out these links:

TOP IMAGE CREDIT:, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC

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