Meet Our 2018 safeTALK Trainers!

In 2018 The New Mentality will travel across the province to deliver 10 safeTALK trainings to over 250 youth and adult allies in order to improve our network’s capacity to support people experiencing suicidal feelings. This training will provide individuals with the knowledge on how to notice and respond to situations where suicidal thoughts might be present. 

safeTALK is an alertness training that prepares anyone over 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. safeTALK has found that most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving treatment intervention resources, such as Ontario community-based mental health system.

This project was made possible through the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund! Along with training TNM staff members Mary-Anne Leahy and Caralyn Quan to become safeTALK trainers, this grant is allowing us to support 3 members of our New Mentality Network to become trainers as well!

We are happy to announce Austin Bertrand, Ellen Renaud, and Jermaine will also join us in becoming safeTALK trainers!

Austin Bertrand

Austin is studying to become a Child and Youth Worker at Algonquin College in Ottawa. He is a TNM Alumni of The New Mentality Mirthful Minds in Ottawa and was a Youth Apprentice on the 2016 and 2017 Disable the Label Hosting Team. In Austin’s words: “Becoming a SafeTalk trainer is important to me because suicide is still very stigmatized in our community and not talked about enough. Being in the Child and Youth Care field I believe it is important to provide suicide awareness training to as many people as we can to help break the stigma around mental illness and suicide. I look forward to using the skills I gain as a SafeTalk trainer in my future career as a Child and Youth Care Practitioner.”

Ellen Renaud

Ellen is an Adult Ally for our New Mentality Group in Timmins! Ellen is passionate about bring this training to northeastern Ontario. Ellen explains, “an increasing number of aboriginal youth in Northern Ontario are killing themselves (Eggertson, 2015).  The impact of these suicides have a ripple effect within the youth’s community and as well neighbouring communities. Suicide is preventable so knowing the signs is the first step, knowing the words to engage the individual and reach out to community supports is key to preventing suicide. I am excited for this opportunity to help make communities in the northeast safer by training youth and adults to become suicide-alert helpers.”

Jermaine Henry

Jermaine has worked with The New Mentality as a Lead Host for Disable the Label for the past 3 years. He is a Social ARTrepreneur who is passionate about connecting and inspiring people to self-actualize. Through drama, emceein’, facilitation and spoken word, he co-creates meaningful moments rooted in compassion and courage. Jermaine facilitates trainings across the province, his mission is to use his artistry and facilitation skills to curate brave spaces to promote freedom, love and equity.

Mary-Anne Leahy & Caralyn Quan

New Mentality staff members Mary-Anne and Caralyn are very excited for this opportunity for the network. We partner with 22 TNM groups across Ontario. One of their main activities is hosting events and speaking in their communities, with a focus on reducing stigma and educating their peers on local services. Due to the nature of this work, our youth and adult allies act as informal gatekeepers – they are often the initial contact for people talking about mental health issues. As such it is important that they are knowledgeable about mental health, know the resources available in their community, and are prepared on what to do after community presentations and events when an individual might be suicidal. We are excited to become safeTALK trainers so we can build our network’s capacity and continue to offer this important training past this grant.

Stay tuned in the upcoming months for more information about training dates and locations!

Thank you to the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund for making this project possible! Today is #belletstalk day! The 2018 Bell Let’s Talk Day awareness campaign spotlights personal stories from Canadians of all ages from all walks of life living with mental illness or providing support for those who do.

We hope that you and your friends, family and colleagues will join the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @TNMengage and Facebook @Thenewmentality

Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions on Bell Let’s Talk Day, at no extra cost to participants:

  • Text and talk: Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and, new this year, Bell MTS customers in Manitoba
  • Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
  • Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
  • Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk geofilter and video view

Youth Action Committee Applications Open! Deadline Jan 28!

The Youth Action Committee (YAC) is currently recruiting Co-Chairs and Committee Members for the 2018 group cycle!

About The yac

The Youth Action Committee (YAC) is a provincial advisory committee, made up of youth aged 16-25 who work to reduce stigma and improve mental health services for children and youth through youth-led policy recommendations. The YAC identifies a major issue youth experiencing mental health difficulties in Ontario are facing and sets out to find out how youth think we can solve these complex issues. Following province wide youth consultations, the YAC works with Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s (CMHO) policy team to generate youth-led policy recommendations. The group works together to deliver findings and recommendations to stakeholders responsible for change.    

About This year’s Project  

In 2017 our Youth Action Committee set out to begin the YAC’s next policy cycle. In March, a group of 9 dynamic youth advocates from across the province came together to discuss important issues that were happening in their communities and to bring forth their own personal experience with mental illness and mental wellness. Ultimately they felt that the mental health system in Ontario isn’t built to support all young people and many of them and their peers were experiencing “Gaps in Services” either because of a group they identified with or because of where they lived. They hosted two Youth Summits in Toronto and Thunder Bay to give young people the opportunity to identify service gaps they and their peers were experiencing and to form solutions to reduce these gaps. Following these summits, the YAC met with the Honorable Micheal Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services, to bring forward the voices of the youth from the summit. 

In 2018, the Youth Action Committee will continue to work on this project by analyzing the information received at the 2017 Youth Summits, continuing to gather more youth input on gaps in mental health services and writing the final youth-led policy statement.

To learn more about the Youth Action Committee click here!

About The Roles 

Committee Member 

YAC members are expected to attend 3-4 weekend meetings held in Toronto between March-November 2018 (all travel, accommodation, and meal expenses will be covered) and participate in monthly conference calls. YAC Committee members will participate in planning and delivering a youth-led policy project; including organizing youth summits, collecting youth input, and analyzing and compiling results. Members are also expected to work in a team environment, communicate regularly between meetings, and work individually on assignments and tasks with New Mentality staff. 


In addition, the YAC Co-Chairs are responsible for working with New Mentality staff to plan and facilitate meetings. The Co-Chairs may also check-in with committee members between meetings, and assist members with travel to and from meetings within Toronto. Co-Chairs will also play a significant leadership role in the YAC project management; including overseeing deadlines and planing and writing and delivering a youth-led policy statement.

Desired Skills, knowledge, and experience 

Teamwork Conflict resolution
Emotional awareness/holding space Understanding/experience with youth engagement 
Understanding/experience of public policy Project management skills 
Experience on committees or similar projects Capacity to work remotely 
Connection to mental health  Group Facilitation (small groups and/or  larger events)
Harvesting  Understanding of Ontario’s provincial government 
Date analysis  Report writing 
Time management Strong self-care strategies 

Application Tips!

  • Review the questions before you enter the online application. To view a PDF of the application click here.
  • We encourage you to aim to answer each question in about a paragraph. Although your answers don’t need to be very long, this is your chance to tell us about yourself and why you think you are a good  candidate for the YAC. 
  • The above list of ‘desired skills, knowledge, and experience’ is just a list of things we are looking for in YAC members. We are not expecting any one person to have each one of these skills so on your application try to highlight in your answers the things on this list that you are strong in. And if there is something that you’re really good at that’s not on this list, let us know on your application! 
  • Don’t try to fit into a box of what you think we’re looking for, just be yourself! The YAC is made up of youth from across the province with a variety of different background, skills, and life experience, so it’s important on your application to be true to yourself.


If completing this written application is a barrier to you applying in any way let us know! You can email Mary-Anne Leahy at and we’ll make other arrangements for you to apply. Just be sure to do this before the deadline. 

If you have a question about the application, please feel free to contact us at 


Meeting my MPP

By TNM Alumni Amanda Suleiman

Honestly speaking, I was a bit apprehensive about setting up a meting with my MPP, partially because I feel really uninformed about how the government works, and my role in it, and I felt like no one would want to hear what I had to say. However, after taking the plunge and recently setting up a successful meeting with my MPP to talk about youth mental health funding, I’m hoping to share my experience to help others do the same.

Firstly, once I had decided to meet my MPP, I (somewhat embarrassingly) realized that I wasn’t completely sure that I knew who my current MPP even was, so I was off to the internet! I first found my electoral district using this link, and from there, was able to search for the name and contact information of the MPP corresponding to my electoral district here.

From there, I emailed my MPP a request to meet, including my name and a brief description of what I wanted to talk about. To give you an idea of what you would say, I’ve included an excerpt here:

Dear [MPP NAME],

I would like to set up a time to meet with you, specifically regarding the lengthy wait times affecting children and youth in [CITY] seeking treatment within Ontario’s child and youth mental health system. As you may be aware, the child and youth mental health system is currently facing skyrocketing demand for services, leading to lengthy wait times of up to 18 months.

Over 120,000 children and youth receive care in community-based mental health agencies, and while the Ontario government has made progress toward key commitments for improvements to the system, the fact remains that too many children and youth are not able to not access the services they desperately need. Ontario children and youth deserve timely and effective mental health treatment when and where they need it. Simply put, [CITY] children and youth need your help to advocate for investment in community-based mental health services today…

An assistant from my MPP’s office got back to me the next day to schedule an appointment a couple of weeks away. I was also happy to find out that his office was actually in a nearby plaza which was a lot less intimidating than the large office building I had been imagining.

I arrived at their office, checked in with the receptionist, and waiting. Then, I was taken to meet my MPP in their office. I was pleasantly surprised to see that we were able to have a more casual conversation, and that he was genuinely interested in hearing about my experiences, what I’ve noticed, and what suggestions I had to improve things. It was a short meeting, around 20 minutes. He told me he would keep what I had said in mind and bring it to Queen’s Park. I know it was a small piece, but there is strength in numbers, and I’m glad I was able to take part in this process, taking advantage of all avenues to have this important message heard.

Take away points: Talking with CMHO team members, I was reminded that it is literally the job of MPPs to take time to speak to their community members, and bring their concerns to the attention of the Premier.