Victoria Foundation leads vital conversation on youth mental health

Free event is March 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Camosun College, Lansdowne Campus

The mental health of youth is defined as a Vital Conversation by the Victoria Foundation, and the focus of their second such event.

“It really goes back to our last Vital Signs and that voice of youth that comes through that,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation. “It’s not just about youth in the future. It’s about youth now, and that they have a voice. We should be listening a little more closely.”

The 2017 Vital Signs citizen survey results showed those aged 30 and under are more likely to say that improving access to mental health supports is a priority compared to older age groups; less likely to describe themselves as happy compared to older age groups; more likely to sometimes or often feel lonely compared to older age groups.

“What that usually leads to is we’re a catalyst for change. We may not be that change, but it’s bringing in different partners and people to be able to look for solutions. The conversations carry on,” Richardson said.

They embarked on a partnership with Coast Capital Savings and the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island as well as a youth advisory group from their Fresh Voices project to create the free public event March 14 at the Lansdowne campus of Camosun College.

Panelists include Chris Balmer, Camosun College – counsellor and lead of the Student Mental Health and Well-being Strategy; Dr. Jennie Preuss – Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist; Wade Maybie, Saanich Child and Youth Mental Health – Team Leader; Zoe Newson – youth with lived experience of mental health challenges; and Taylor Mahovlich – youth with lived experience of mental health challenges.

“I think it’s going to be a good audience response,” Richardson said. “The one thing we try and do with this is to encourage youth to attend. We are having a good result of that right now.”

Following the speakers panel, there will be an opportunity for informal table activities and dialogue as well as refreshments. Note that food and table activities will take place in Na’tsa’maht, the Indigenous gathering place located just steps away from the Young Building. Na’tsa’maht is a Salish phrase meaning unity or working together as one, and this space is a place where people can meet, engage, and reflect. This is a covered, open-air space so please dress for the weather.

This Vital Conversation is open to the community, March 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Camosun College, Lansdowne Campus in the Gibson Auditorium.

Seating is limited, and pre-registration is required at

Visit to learn more about a third in the series of Vital Conversations called Hey Victoria Tell Us About Your Drinking.

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