I want to write this story about youth who are turning 19 and feel there is no hope when they have Diversabilities. I have Diversabilities and I have been lucky to find help when I needed it.

People with mental health issues and disabilities, have a dual diagnosis and find it harder than most.

My inspiration for this story came from some stories I had read about what happens to the youth who are in foster care, they receive some help for mental health or learning disability issues but when they turn 19 all that stopped because they are no longer in that system. Unfortunately some of the young adults find they cannot cope and don’t know where to turn. For some they may become desperate enough to take their own life.

I would like to tell the youth with Diversabilities to not give up and if you don’t know what to do then call the Kids Help Line for Teens 1-800-668-6868 or the Crisis Centre in Vancouver for all of B.C. 1-800-784-2433, they will find you help. Please don’t give up, you are worth it!

I found I had to really speak up for myself and sometimes that is not easy to do but your life is worth it. When I was growing up there was very little support for me so my parents kept me very sheltered so I wouldn’t get hurt by what people said. But by my late teens I was able to get help from peer support groups and counselling and that really helped me. Still it took me until my mid-thirties before I had some close friends, and it is okay to just have a few friends. Now since I have been involved in the Self-Advocate world, I find people have gotten to know my name. I have built up a support network and a good circle of friends and that has also really helped.

I wish that I could help the youth at age 19 know there is help and getting a friend or counselor to talk to can make the difference. I hope now we have a new government that they realize we have to have more support for youth turning 19 coming out of foster care who have issues. They need more support so they may have hope in their life.

I’d like to end with a quote from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Days Off.

“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around once and awhile you may miss it”.

So I say catch everything around you and smell everything around you, it is so beautiful and so are you!

By Cheryl Fryfield