TNM’s Response to the Ontario Residential Services Panel Report

The New Mentality is an Ontario-wide network of youth doing mental health awareness and anti-stigma work in their communities and leading edge youth-driven policy work. As a provincial body that aims to raise youth voice to improve the mental health system, we were pleased to support the work of Residential Services Review Panel by connecting them with youth from our network.

We applaud the work of the panel of experts, and were especially pleased to see the strong emphasis on the crucial role of youth voice in a high quality and effective residential treatment system. We share the belief that an effective residential service system must have mechanisms to engage youth voice at all levels, including within governance and accountability structures, and look forward to continuing to partner with government, community mental health agencies, youth, and other stakeholders as these recommendations are put into action.

We are excited to continue to work with the Ontario government to build a system that effectively supports children and youth in need of mental health support and treatment.

To see the Panel’s report, click here.

DTL 2016 Community Poem

Cold, beige walls
A doctor’s waiting room
3 meals a day of hospital slop
Surrounded by a strangely empty feeling
Detached from the outside living world

Hope comes and goes
Fading with every delay
Constantly having to relay
Our misunderstood pain

Feeling into our ideal system
We’ve been holding our breath but now we can breathe
And we see the light at the end of the tunnel
Hear, the quiet
No longer do we hear the quiet fear of not knowing what’s next
Now, we hear the quiet comfort of a silent moment with a friend who understands
Surrounded by people that help us see more clearly where we are, or feel okay about not knowing
A patchwork of professionals, friends, elders, and our chosen family
Thinkers and feelers guiding in balance; guiding us to our own balance

The system investing in who is there, for the priceless work they do, tending to the bedrock of our society, tending to the children and youth that are our collective future
Mentorship woven through our circles of care
Moving through our journey
Not commuting to treatment centres
But a steady flow to safety

A bouquet of gentle scents
Lavender, peaches, coconut, a pleasant overwhelm
The scent just after rain and of the open water

Senses unclouded
As our pain is no longer hidden
As more people understand and the constant questioning stops

We don’t let people hit rock bottom all by themselves
We don’t wait for people to hit rock bottom before we help

Celebrating each person’s individual resiliency
Depression reframed we feel things deeply
It’s all reframed when you see the strengths in me

A new normal
Places to find ourselves
Shift in relationships, back to humanity,
A balance between medication and self care
Treating the body and the soul

We don’t want to be perfect we want to love our imperfections
Love our flaws the way we love the flaws of others
Without the darkness there is no light
The beauty that is born of pain

-Community poem, written collectively by Disable the Label participants, 2016 Week One