Name: Numila Parker
Occupation: Chapter Leader – Family Support Group Facilitator, Parents For Children’s Mental Health (PCMH), Oakville Chapter
After practicing as a Mental Health Clinician for 4 years, Numila chose to continue her passion for supporting the mental health of others and has been serving as the Oakville Chapter Leader for Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH). PCMH is a family-led non-profit organization that supports families facing the unique challenges of child and youth mental health concerns. Through the building of strong support networks, PCMH provides a voice for families and gives them the tools and guidance to feel empowered. For more information on PCMH, visit http://www.pcmh.ca/.
We had the honour of meeting Numila and her fellow members of the PCMH Oakville Chapter during their #ConvoPlate crafting session in September of 2019. Check out some of their beautiful handcrafted plates! (right)
In our interview with Numila, she discusses the unique barriers youth and families experience when seeking mental health support, and how schools are providing crisis resources for their students.
Q: What does “mental health” mean to you?
(Numila): Mental health to me encompasses our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Our mental wellness affects how we think, feel and behave, it guides our responses to life stressors, how we cope, how we manage our relationships with our families, friends, and how we make decisions.
Q: Do you feel that currently there is sufficient education and awareness surrounding suicide prevention? Why?
(Numila): I don’t feel that there is sufficient education and awareness surrounding suicide prevention. There is still much work to be done in reducing stigma. Many still think that somehow talking about it puts the youth at risk of contemplating suicide. Of course we know that’s not the case. We have to do everything we can to make these conversations easier for people, because talking saves lives. I have taken the Mental Health First Aid and ASIST courses. I promote them and encourage people from all walks of life to do the same.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest barrier preventing individuals from seeking support for their mental health?
(Numila): The biggest barrier I think is the very long wait lists to see a psychiatrist or mental health professional. They’re often left feeling with, “now what?”. It takes incredible courage for the youth to come forward, overcoming fear of being dismissed and judged. Once taking that big step to seek help, and discovering a long wait list, they are left with the question of what to do next during this wait time. It’s disheartening. #KidsCantWait