A national crisis has emerged, and communities across Canada are mobilizing to respond to increasing rates of addiction and mental health (AMH) issues in youth and young adults. Experts say the prevalence of AMH grows as teens become adults and peaks at 29, yet 45% of young people will stop accessing care during this time. As teens and young adults wrestle with decisions around post-secondary education or training, moving out, jobs and new relationships, their mental well-being can have life-long impacts, for themselves, the people around them, and our community. Left untreated, mental illness can lead to chronic health issues, joblessness, housing and food insecurity, with consequences that impact our health and justice systems.
Here in Alberta, about 114,000 youth and young adults experience mental health concerns each year.
Sadly, an estimated 4,820 will attempt suicide, the second leading cause of death for 16- to 24-year-olds in this country.
Increase in service access for mental health
Increase in ER visits for AMH services
Increase in suicide attempts
About 10,000 emerging adults are currently accessing addiction and mental health services in the Calgary Zone. We know there are thousands more who are not accessing care.
Currently, AHS has one service for this unique population: the Emerging Adult Treatment Clinic at the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre. Due to its current size, the location and space constraints limit its ability to meet demand. Its current wait time is up to one year.
DID YOU KNOW?
In Calgary, emerging adults make up less than 11% of the population, yet they account for more than 27% of mental health inpatients and 21% of outpatients.
WHERE ARE THE GAPS?
Worldwide lack of developmentally sensitive treatments for this age group
Inflexible treatments that fail to meet their needs
Challenges in engaging young people
Lack of integrated service response
Poor coordination of transition services between child and adult care systems