Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aliçia Raimundo - Engage Me, Please!

Aliçia Raimundo says she didn't make any plans for when she grew up because she thought she would die young.

PHOTO CREDIT: Aliçia's twitter profile, find her @asraimun

Aliçia is a Mental Health Superhero. She was almost a suicide statistic. Anyone who has ever met her is extremely glad she didn't become one.

An estimated 10-20% of all Canadian youth are or have been affected by a mental illness or disorder. 

24% of youth deaths (ages 15-24) are caused by suicide.  

3.2 MILLION Canadian kids between the ages of 12-19 are at risk for developing depression. 

Only 1 in 5 Canadian children receive mental health services when they need it.

Staggering and gut wrenching numbers. And Aliçia is determined to end the stigma and open up the conversation about mental health issues.

After becoming a Survivor at the age of 13, Aliçia wanted to create change from the inside. She knew that agencies don't know how to deal with youth and she wanted to create a place where youth can feel free to share their emotions, talk about depression and find REAL answers on how to deal with it.

She's part of the mindyourmind.ca team, the Mobilizing Minds team and an accomplished public speaker. She works with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Healthy Minds Canada and Lutherwood. She CARES about youth. Rather than just generating content, Aliçia is creating relationships. She encourages them to MAKE CHANGE when they don't like what they see and to stick with it. If they aren't able to make change where they are she works with them to find a better place where their voices will be heard.

Aliçia is engaging youth by encouraging them to tell their stories. To speak up and know that it's okay to be different.

1 in 3 Canadians suffer from a mental illness.... this isn't something we should hide behind.

Aliçia is giving a voice to people who never felt they had a voice. She's generating content to help youth at risk for suicide... and she's having that content written by other youth. She's been recognized as one of the five faces of mental illness in Canada. And if you look at this charming, smart, gorgeous young woman you'll know that indeed, if this is the face of youth mental illness, we really don't need to fear the stigma at all. 

*This is part 12 in a series of 15 blogs detailing the amazing projects presented in the world's first ever Ignite Charity: Waterloo. For more info on Ignite Charity visit www.ignitecharity.ca and follow the conversation on twitter @IgniteCharity.

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