AMPLIFYING YOUNG VOICES
"My call to action is to ensure that all politicians understand the struggles that young people face today so that change can be made to improve our quality of life."
- Annastasia Balfour
By Annastasia Balfour,
Fun and Community Captain at Future Majority Peterborough
Future Majority is giving young people the tools to advocate for real change. From mental health to racial justice to climate change we are a digital community of young leaders building momentum! Find them online: futuremajority.ca or on Instagram: @futuremajority_northumb_ptb
Growing up, I always felt connected to my community through weekly farmers markets, local artists, musicians, and performing arts. I learned from a very early age the importance of staying connected with a community and I have always valued the positive impact it plays on my mental health. When the pandemic happened many of us lost those vital connections with our community. Like many others, COVID-19 has impacted my life in many profound ways. My name is Annastasia (she/her), I live in Peterborough Ontario, and I am 24 years old. Originally from Winnipeg, I moved to Peterborough when I was 6 years old, and I am very proud to say that I am from this area.
Many of us are facing uncertain times with unemployment, navigating social assistance programs, and struggling with isolation. Not only were we all facing uncertain times in terms of work, school, potentially faced illness and loss, but we lost many of our social bonds and support networks. Before the pandemic began, I know that many of us struggled with pre-existing mental health concerns that were only intensified throughout the last year. In fact, 1 in 5 Canadian youth face mental health challenges every year. For so long, I did not have the language to articulate what I was struggling with, and I felt that I was alone in my thoughts and experiences. This is a symptom of not having many resources available to be able to identify what many youth are going through, and how to know when to ask for help. Not only are many young people not provided accessible mental health services, but these discussions are often disregarded and under-prioritized. 70% of mental health concerns onset in childhood and youth, so why not make mental health services available and accessible to those who need them most? Giving young folks the tools to empower themselves, and through their community, is something that I am very passionate about.
"As young people entering the world, these challenges leave us feeling angry, worried, and helpless. Future Majority is rallying folks in ridings across Canada to demand that politicians do more to solve this mental health crisis."
My call to action is to ensure that all politicians understand the struggles that young people face today so that change can be made to improve our quality of life. The issues that I want all politicians to hear — and make plans for solving include: lack of accessible and affordable housing, struggling to find intersectional and comprehensive mental health support for students, inclusive programs for LGBTQI2S+ youth, and finding ways to be more sustainable as we approach the emissions deadline to combat climate change. As young people entering the world, these challenges leave us feeling angry, worried, and helpless. Future Majority is rallying folks in ridings across Canada to demand that politicians do more to solve this mental health crisis! I am so happy and proud to be a part of Future Majority so I can continue building my sense of community, and spend time with like-minded people. We’re mobilizing young people around the country to bring mental health accessibility to the forefront. We’re asking that all the federal parties commit to making accessible mental health a priority in the next federal election. Young people make up more than 40% of the voting population, and that means that when we recognize the ways that we can make tangible change by asking more of every politician, we can overcome the barriers that we currently face.
Future Majority is giving us the tools we need to build the future that we want: one where youth power is undeniable, and all politicians have to listen to concerns of young people. Recognizing the ways that I can become more involved in my community again during these challenging times has been empowering and impactful. Not only do I get to build new relationships, but we are all working towards common goals that will have a direct impact on our lives. To get involved, you can check out the Future Majority website and see your local riding, connect with our amazing team, hangout virtually for some fun activities, and discuss the ways that we can engage with all politicians to hear what we want for our future. Keep up to date by following us on Instagram to stay in the loop about upcoming virtual meetings and events.