A Mission to End the Youth Mental Health Crisis
Paddling towards a brighter future
According to a study conducted in 2019 by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, an estimated 1.2 million children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness. Wait times for counseling and therapy can often be long, especially for children and youth.
Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, wait times of six months to one year were commonplace in Ontario. In the pandemic’s wake, the longest wait for community mental health child and youth services could reach 919 days (about 2 and a half years). Additionally, the average wait times for counseling and therapy is 67 days, and for intensive treatment the average is 92 days. These statistics are not only alarming but highlight the dire need for transparency and advocacy for better awareness of youth mental health struggles and services.
Gluckstein Lawyers has been and continues to be committed to supporting the mental health of the youth in our communities. As an organization we feel strongly about highlighting the immense need for improved services and transparency of process. We feel very proud to sponsor Mike Shoreman for the second year in a row in his journey to bring awareness to youth mental health. Mike is a dedicated mental health and disability advocate, and he has been on an incredible journey crossing Canada’s Great Lakes on his paddleboard.
Child and youth mental health advocate
This summer, Mike is crossing the great lakes via paddleboard for Canada's #1 Youth Mental Health Organization, Jack.org, to support kids in crisis in every province and territory. His crossing is an homage Canadian retired marathon swimmer, Vicki Keith's 1988 crossings of the lakes.
Mike's advocates for youth mental health because he, himself, has struggled with his mental health, and worries for the youth of our country. Speaking to the rise in the mental health crisis domestically, Mike stated: “I believe that the young people of this country are our future. The mental health crisis with young persons across Canada may be the greatest crisis we have seen coming out of this pandemic. It is our responsibility to ensure their futures and ours are protected as much as we can.”
In 2018, Mike, then the successful owner of his own paddle-boarding business, was suddenly diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, a condition that causes paralysis to one side of a person’s face, which is accompanied by vertigo, fatigue, and a painful rash, amongst other symptoms. Following this shocking news, Mike was told that he would never paddleboard again.
Mental health challenges
Mike is a breaker of all barriers. One month after he was told he would never paddleboard again, and just a few weeks after he stopped using a cane, Mike got back on the board. His first attempt lasted three minutes. Four years later, Mike has returned to the board for sustained periods of time against all the odds, and to raise awareness for a cause close to his heart.
Speaking on his mission, Mike underscores the importance of his own mental health journey: “Now on the other side [of his mental health journey], I believe that I have a responsibility to do my part to make sure that what I went through does not happen to young people. Young Canadians should enjoy being kids. They should be doing things that young people love. Not be in a state of crisis.”
Gluckstein Lawyers dedicated to supporting mental health services
As strong advocates for our clients and individuals in our collective communities, we very much admire Mike’s passion for those struggling with their mental health, in addition to demonstrating the different abilities we see from individuals living with a disability. By supporting initiatives such as this, we strive to empower and uplift as many voices as we can. We cannot wait to see Mike cross the lakes all summer long for such a valuable and urgent mission.
Below is his schedule and links to donate to his crossing:
- The 2022 Great Lakes Crossing Schedule
- Lake Erie - May 27th - May 30th - Sturgeon Point, NY to Crystal Beach, ON
- Lake Huron - June 11th - June 18th - Harbor Beach, MI to Kincardine, ON
- Lake Michigan - June 25th - July 4th - Union Pier, MI to Chicago, IL
- Lake Superior - July 17th - July 20th - Orienta, WI to Two Harbors, MN
- Lake Ontario - August 10th - August 17th - Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON to Toronto, ON (Harbourfront Centre)
Links to Donate and Learn more about Mike Shoreman
Follow Mike on Twitter, Facebook
 Youth Mental Health Stats in Canada
 28,000 Ontario Children and Youth Are Waiting for Community Mental Health Services.
 Ramsay Hunt syndrome - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
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