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B.C. to fund ‘Behind the Mask’ mental health video series for children, teens

The province is spending $555,000 on the digital awareness initiative in partnership with Anxiety Canada
The province is granting Anxiety Canada $555,000 to develop a series of mental health literacy videos, called Behind The Mask. (Unsplash)

Children and youths grappling with anxiety amid the pandemic will soon have access to new digital resources to help them cope.

Announced Wednesday (June 30), the province is granting Anxiety Canada $555,000 to develop a series of mental health literacy videos, called Behind The Mask.

“The videos will build awareness and understanding about anxiety and its impact, and provide information and tools to manage anxiety,” reads the province’s news release.

Voices of Indigenous partners, professionals and those with lived experiences will be featured in the digital series that’s a partnership with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

RELATED: How a year of COVID-19 has impacted our mental health

Minister Sheila Malcolmson said the mental health of many children, youth, families and caregivers took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are adding resources to help people deal with these challenges,” said Malcolmson.

Anxiety Canada CEO Judith Law said the animated videos will be available for viewing on its website. They will contain humour as a way of engaging youth and children, she said.

“Humour helps us to see things from multiple perspectives, to grasp unconventional ideas or ways of thinking, to provide us with opportunities to laugh and reflect on uncomfortable topics.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

B.C.-born comedian Charlie Demers has also pledged his support for the project.

“As a six-year-old boy, I remember having to wear a paper mask when I visited my mom at Vancouver General Hospital, and I’ve always felt this experience deeply impacted my disproportionate fears of contaminating others later in life.”

“When face masks became a very necessary part of all our children’s lives in 2020, I knew that without the resources to guide them out the other side of the pandemic, thousands of more kids could be permanently left with similarly, very painfully skewed perspectives.”

The funding will also support the distribution of digital and print resources on anxiety disorders, as well as panel discussions and podcast interviews to further facilitate conversations about mental health.

READ ALSO: Report finds COVID-19 accelerated declining mental health of Canadian youth

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