Windsor

Online resource helps young people 'be there' for friends with mental illnesses

As part of mental health week in Canada, non-profit organization jack.org has launched 'Be There.'

'Be There' uses 5 'Golden Rules' for mental health support

'Be There' is an online resource teaching young people to use five 'Golden Rules' to help their friends. (jack.org)

A new online resource is going to help young people help each other. 

As part of mental health week in Canada, non-profit organization jack.org has launched 'Be There.'

jack.org was started in 2010 by a couple who lost their university-aged son to suicide. The organization trains young people to address mental health issues. 

'Be There' creates a network of young people, including University of Windsor graduate Jessica Fazio who is Windsor's jack.org advocate.

"There's some really great community questions," said Fazio about the website. "You can search for anything and they'll be an answer there."

'Be There' has five of what they call "Golden Rules":

  • Say what you see
  • Show you care
  • Hear them out
  • Know your role
  • Connect to help

"It's easy for us to want to give advice right away and sometimes that's great, but a lot of times people just need to be heard," said Fazio. "We're encouraging young people to support each other but this interaction can't replace medical support or outside resources."

Fazio lost friends to suicide in high school and then she noticed her friends in university also had mental health problems, so she looked into how she could help.

"We don't know ... there's no education around how to support our friends when they're struggling," said Fazio. "We don't talk about mental health."

According to Fazio, 'Be There' uses written words, shared stories and tutorial videos to help young people know how to talk to each other about mental health. 

According to jack.org, 83 per cent of the 1,200 Canadians surveyed said they supported a friend struggling with mental health, but only 39 per cent of them felt they were prepared to offer the support that was needed. 

jack.org's 'Be There' resource launched Monday.

With files from Windsor Morning

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