I’m currently on a mini New Mentality tour visiting 3 of our groups across the province. First on the stop, our New Mentality Halton group, who are with our partner agency Reach Out for Kids!
After somewhat of a long commute and listening to some Bollywood music along the way of course, I arrived to the Halton Regional Building in Oakville, Ontario where our youth were meeting this week.
My favourite part of the work I get to do, is meeting our inspiring youth who do some incredible work all across the province!
When I arrived, I noticed how beautiful the meeting space was set up, and of course the snacks helped – especially the brownies! There was a warm and comforting feeling being in the space right from the start. Before the meeting began, we all of course discussed the phenomenal Shakira and Jennifer Lopez half time show during the Super Bowl this past Sunday.
After some laughs and sharing a bit about ourselves, the youth got right into the project they’re working on this year. Launching season 2 of their podcast Youth Minds Matter, which will premiere during Children’s Mental Health Week this May!
One thing I’ve noticed and love about all my visits to our different groups is how dedicated our youth, and adult allies are when it comes to advocacy work around the stigma associated with mental illness. These youth were incredibly driven, organized, and focused. They all had roles and took the initiative to work on 1-2 episodes each, from writing the script, ensuring that each episode felt authentic, to creating a recording schedule. You could tell right away how much this project meant to the youth, and the amount of work and effort they had put into it.
There was a great discussion around one of the episodes that’ll be apart of season 2; the cultural barriers to mental health. We took some time to have an in-depth conversation on how we need more diversity and ways we can outreach to communities where mental illness is extremely stigmatized. This was an important conversation to be had, as the New Mentality has been focusing on how we can be more inclusive, be better allies, and host conversations around race and identity in the mental health system and how they intersect.
After the meeting, I left feeling eager to bring all the amazing ideas our youth shared on how we can grow as a network.
Thank you to the wonderful adult allies and youth for having me join in their first meeting of the new year. I’m looking forward to the incredible impact you will leave on everyone through your podcast. I can’t wait to visit again!
To keep up to date with everything our New Mentality group in Halton is up to check out their Instagram @tnmhalton
Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator