A gift for mental health supports the leaders of tomorrow

Our leaders of tomorrow may be struggling today – and it’s up to a collective effort to ensure they reach their full potential.

That’s the view of Aurora resident George Rappos.

An insurance agent with Desjardins, Mr. Rappos recently donated $10,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association – York and South Simcoe Region (CMHA-YRSS) to help fund mental health programs for the organization’s youth, including MOBYSS, their mobile youth walk-in clinic, which provides free primary care and mental care to young people aged 12-25.

It’s the latest boost Rappos has given ACSM-YRSS and the latest in what he hopes will be a much broader movement starting this spring.

“I am aware of the challenges of mental illness,” Rappos says, noting that mental health is health, just as much as diabetes, asthma and other challenges. “We don’t place the same importance on supporting mental health in this country, I think. Obviously there’s a societal stigma attached to exposing yourself if you have a mental illness or mental disorder, but at the end of the day, we all have mental health, just like we all have physical health.

“Unfortunately, 20% of the population suffers from a mental disorder or mental illness. [For] many of these diseases and mental disorders, the onset of them begins at a very young age in a person’s life. Even getting an evaluation from a child psychologist could cost you a few hundred per hour, which is not covered by OHIP. Unless you have employer paid benefits, it is very difficult to even afford to get a psychological evaluation. It is important that we ensure that many of our young people do not fall through the cracks, especially families living on the margins of society. We have to make sure there is adequate funding.

Mr. Rappos’ donation is not just to support funding for youth mental health programs, it’s also to help CMHA advocate with governments to “do the right thing and do the right thing.” ‘ensure there is sufficient funding’ for OHIP coverage.

“The problem is long, convoluted and complex, but over the past two years we have seen with the pandemic that mental health disorders and illnesses, if you have one, tend to be exacerbated,” he says. . “At the end of the day, we have to make sure that we nip this in the bud very early on because these young people are going to become adults one day and we have to make sure that these young people who are going to become adults one day will become contributors to our society and our economy. If we leave 20% behind, that’s not a good thing.

To move this moment forward, Rappos hopes to mobilize the entire insurance industry in Canada to participate in a fundraising campaign to support youth mental health nationwide through an initiative called “ Securing Our Future,” which is expected to launch this spring.

“We hope to get the support of [industry associations] as we launch the campaign,” he says, noting a tentative launch date in early May. “We’ve had great discussions with CMHA and they’re starting to…plan and promote the initiative. I’m really excited about this and I’m confident we’ll raise a significant amount of funding. It’s not unique, but it’s something we’ll try to implement every year in the insurance industry.

“This will be a grassroots initiative to challenge all of us to make sure we step up and make a contribution to hopefully support youth mental health. Young people are going to be our business leaders, involved in the arts and sciences, and we need to give these people the support they need to ensure they are functioning citizens.

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, The Auroran

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