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Youth council to look at substance abuse, mental health next year

A group of local teens plan to teach others about substance abuse, inclusion and mental health issues in the city. The Grande Prairie Youth Council has decided to make those its focus for its upcoming sessions in the new year. On the mental health side, member Danny Murphy says the group wants to create a guide that can be distributed to school.

“We have seen a lot of people our age experience a multitude of mental health issues. We’d like to provide those resources to assist as well as reducing the stigma and increasing awareness.”

The council was started by the city back in 2010. It meets once a week to talk about issues that affect teens and children in the area. Those issues are then brought up to city council.

Looking at substance abuse, the group says they want to focus on alcohol and partying as well as cannabis use. Members plan to work with other local groups to present educational videos to students. Member Irene Eyo-nsa says they plan to target younger students so that they can learn before they get older.

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“We’re targeting younger groups just because we talked about how we want to prevent it before, not that it can ever be too late and you can always seek help. We just believe it’s good to start teaching them things while they’re young.”

The group is hoping to start working on those issues by February or March and possibly start doing presentations by the fall.

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