Originally published in the Goderich Signal Star on November 20, 2017, "Tanner Steffler Foundation" by Kathleen Smith
June 6, 2017 is a date that holds an emotional place in the hearts of the Steffler family.
It is also a date that has propelled despair into passion for a cause that will provide youth in the County with more adequate mental health and addictions services.
That date was the day 19-year-old Tanner Steffler succumbed to his mental health struggles and addictions issues.
Created in August 2017 by Heather and John Steffler, the Tanner Steffler Foundation was made to honour their son Tanner and to improve services available for youth in Huron County.
Last week at a County Council meeting, Tanner’s parents and creators of the Tanner Steffler Foundation, Heather and John, presented and introduced the Foundation to County Council.
“The focus of the Foundation is to enhance and improve the resources and support networks in place for our youth. Mental health and addiction is greatly neglected in our area. We will provide the best possible mental health and addictions resources through education, technology and initiatives,” said John.
In regards to technology, a new ground-breaking platform, BEACON, providing therapist-assisted and digitally-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has recently been released to the public.
Mental health conditions impact 1 in 5 Canadians and nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with a mental illness by the time they are 40 and most do not have access to treatment.
There are several barriers to treatment, such as wait times, lack of adequate services in rural areas, affordability and stigma. Technology is providing those who are faced with obstacles, the access they need to therapy and treatment.
BEACON is a digital treatment app released recently for smart phones, in an effort to improve the delivery and accessibility of mental health care. The app is an example of possible options for those in the area who have issues with accessibility or affordability.