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Student group wants to bring awareness to youth mental health

UPlan members discuss some of the challenges facing young people during the pandemic

A group of high school students in Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows are putting their heads together to address some of the many plights affecting their peers.

UPlan aims to create various initiatives and events their fellow young people can get involved in, as well as advocate, and draw attention to helpful existing resources.

A pair of Grade 11 students involved in the 20-person group spearheaded a conversation on mental illness.

Anna Huber, who attends Thomas Haney Secondary, and Ella Podulsky, who is studying at Maple Ridge Secondary, pointed out local youth have been forced to forgo many of the milestones – like graduation, school dances and sporting events – they have been looking forward to celebrating.

“There’s a whole generation that is missing out on really key experiences that everyone else before them got to go through,” said Podulsky.

“And that’s making it hard to have a positive outlook on life for many.”

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These milestones, the group contends, are critical to growing up. Without them to look forward to, it is common for their peers to feel a sense of loss.

Talking about what has been missing from their lives has been helpful, Huber pointed out.

“Just knowing that other people are going through this, and we’re all in it together was something that has made it a little more manageable,” she said.

One of the initiatives UPlan has in store to pick up some spirits as the weather gets a little bit warmer is a scavenger hunt.

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“We want people to get outside an explore the community safely while we’re going through this pandemic,” she said.

UPlan members have identified some resources for high school students who may struggling with managing their mental health. They recommend you call Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868), reach out to The Foundry (, explore school wellness programs, or touch base with a counsellor at their school.

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