Youth and Mental Health 101

About identity


young girl

Some experiences put people at higher risk of developing mental health challenges and facing gaps in mental health care. Sometimes these are challenges that come with identifying as a person in a certain community, such as experiences of sexism, racism, settler colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, ageism and ableism, among others.

A few examples of groups who experience higher levels of mental health challenges due to the life experiences they may face are:1

    Indigenous peoples and communities
    francophones
    immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural and racialized groups
    people who identify as LGBTQ+
    people with disabilities
    people experiencing low-income or income insecurity
    people who are underhoused or homeless.

When someone belongs to more than one of these groups, they may have higher rates of mental health challenges because there are more factors at play. Being regularly exposed to violence, discrimination, stigma and lack of resources can be traumatizing in itself. 2

However, although some youth are at higher risk because of these experiences, belonging to one of these groups doesn’t mean you will develop a mental health challenge or that all people within these groups will necessarily experience these things. Often, these groups face challenges because of systemic barriers, like access to services. In many cases, being a part of a community can be a sign of strength and solidarity.


1. MOHLTC, 2018

2. Kidd, 2018