Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Actor, spokesperson for the Fondation Jeunes en Tête
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I try to raise awareness, particularly in schools, of the challenges associated with psychological distress among young people. With workshops in the form of virtual discussions and videos, the foundation concretely helps improve things and make people aware of these problems.
Young people who suffer from psychological distress feel isolated and that they don’t quite belong, and this at a time in their lives when all they want is to fit in. And then you have their parents, who also feel very alone and don’t necessarily know how to deal with the situation. However, it’s very important for parents not to take symptoms like stomach aches, panic attacks, conflicts at school, and changes in attitude lightly. It’s important to speak with the child and their teachers to de-dramatize and respond accordingly. They can also speak with their family doctor, who can direct them to pediatricians or psychotherapists as needed.
We would need to reinvent school, do a 180. We teach kids a ton of things, but we don’t teach them how to be happy. Our kids are growing up in a world filled with screens, a world that is hyper connected and virtual… a superficial world. I think it would help to connect them to things that are more internal, profound, essential. I’m thinking physical activity, playing outside, breathing, and introspection.