TNM is Hiring Two Summer Students

We’re Hiring Two Summer Students for an 8 Week Contract!

Job Posting 1: Communication Assistant

Hourly Wage Rate: $14.00 per hour
Start Date: June 10, 2019
End Date: August 2, 2019
Number of Hours Per Week: 35
Location: Toronto, ON

The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate has a passion for social media, communications and graphic design. They are interested and/or experienced in youth work, have excellent social media and graphic design skills and are looking for an exciting opportunity to build their skills and experience. They are organized, detailed oriented, and able to meet tight deadlines. Because this role is within Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s New Mentality Program, they are excited to learn more about and contribute to strengthening mental health services for youth across Ontario.

The Role
The Communications Assistant will be responsible to work with New Mentality staff to develop a communication strategy for our provincial network. They will also be responsible for developing and implementing a communication strategy for our annual summer retreat, Disable the Label. The event brings together over 100 participants including youth leaders, young organizers, and adult allies from across the province who gather to learn and enhance their leadership skills, share their local mental health advocacy projects, create systematic recommendations for the child and youth mental health system in Ontario, and build meaningful connections that support positive mental wellness.

Tasks

  • Work with TNM staff to develop a one-year communication strategy for our provincial New Mentality Network
    • Develop annual social media strategy, including creating content and a work plan for New Mentality staff
    • Support TNM website Update – content + blogs
    • Advise TNM staff on other opportunities to improve communication within the network
  • Develop and Implement Disable the Label Communication Strategy
    • Develop and implement social media strategy for the event, including promotion, onsite, and post-event content
    • Develop and design event program and youth resource booklet
    • Post-event create a website page for DTL 2019
    • Develop communication strategy within our network and public about overall event and event outcomes

Key Qualifications

  • Social media enthusiast and expert, skilled at making creative use of different channels
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator
  • Strong writing skills and experience with various types of writing and editing
  • Self-starter with the ability to work well independently, and collaborate well with creative direction
  • Ability to connect with people quickly – an excellent listener
  • Ability to work under the pressure of tight timelines and rise to creative challenges
  • Ability to synthesize information and communicate messages in a creative and engaging manner

Job Posting 2: Event Assistant

Hourly Wage Rate: $14.00 per hour
Start Date: June 10, 2019
End Date: August 2, 2019
Number of Hours Per Week: 35
Location: Toronto, ON

The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate has a passion for mental health, community mobilization and facilitating groups. They are excited to learn more about and contribute to strengthening mental health services for youth across Ontario. They are organized, detailed oriented, and able to meet tight deadlines. They loved to listen, synthesize information, and write. They are looking to develop skills and gain work experience that will help further their career. Perhaps they have a flair for social media, graphic design, or event planning.

The Role
The Event Assistant will support New Mentality staff to plan, organize, and deliver our annual summer leadership retreat, Disable the Label. The event brings together over 100 participants including youth leaders, young organizers, and adult allies from across the province who gather to learn and enhance their leadership skills, share their local mental health advocacy projects, create recommendations for the child and youth mental health system in Ontario, and build meaningful connections that support positive mental wellness.

The Event Assistant will be responsible for supporting the reporting and harvesting of the event, including recording insights, quotes, and outcomes of event activities. Following the event, they will create a youth-friendly report to share with our network and the public outlining the outcomes and activities held at Disable the Label. During the planning process, they will be responsible for supporting the social media strategy, developing the program booklet and other administrative tasks.

Key Qualifications

  • Organized & Detailed oriented
  • Strong writing skills and experience with various types of writing and editing
  • Ability to synthesize information and communicate messages in a creative and engaging manner
  • Social media enthusiast, skilled at making creative use of different channels
  • Self-starter with the ability to work well independently, and collaborate well with creative direction
  • Ability to connect with people quickly – an excellent listener
  • Ability to work under the pressure of tight timelines
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator

 

To Apply

To apply, please send a cover letter and your resume to Mary-Anne Leahy, at mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca If you have experience in graphic design please include a sample of something you have designed.

Application deadline: Thursday, May 30 at noon.

Please note the successful candidate must be available for our summer retreat, July 16-19, and our planning day on July 15 at YMCA Geneva Park in Orillia (accommodation, travel meals are covered).

The New Mentality is committed to equity in our policies, practices, and programs. We strongly encourage and welcome applications from people who identify as Indigenous, a person of colour, LGBTQQ2, living with a disability, or a religious minority.

Eligibility For Both Positions

Funding for this grant is provided by Canada Summer Jobs. To be eligible for this position, candidates must:

  • Be between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the employment;
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of the employment; and,
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of employment and be legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations.

International students are not eligible participants. International students include anyone who is temporarily in Canada for studies and who is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada, as per the grant guidelines.


Applications Open for Disable the Label 2019 Hosting Team

We are currently recruiting for the 2019 Disable the Label Team!

About Disable the Label and the Hosting Team

Disable the Label (DTL) is The New Mentality’s annual 4-day summer leadership retreat where we bring together our network to gather to learn and enhance our youth engagement skills, share our local projects, and build meaningful connections. At Disable the Label, we grow our capacity to be mental health advocates and use our voices to make a positive change in the child and youth mental health system in Ontario.

The DTL Hosting Team is made up of a group of passionate individuals from different backgrounds and experiences who come together to plan and deliver Disable the Label. It is a fun and rewarding experience but takes a lot of hard work and stamina to plan and execute the event. If you are looking for a new experience and ready to give back to your community this is a great opportunity. We are currently looking to fill 5 positions on the hosting team! These positions are volunteer, and all positions come with an honorarium reflecting the time commitment, level on intensity, skills needed to complete the tasks, and the individual needs of the volunteer.

Disable the Label 2019 will run from July 16-19 at YMCA Geneva Park. Members of the hosting team are required to attending a one-day planning and prep meeting on July 15.

To learn more about Disable the Label Click Here

About the Roles

Facilitation Host (1 position available)
Our Facilitation Host will work with a co-host and members of the DTL 2019 Hosting Team including TNM staff to plan and deliver Disable the Label 2019. They will take on a leadership role in the designing, delivering, and facilitation of the event. We are looking for someone with experience facilitating a multi-day retreat in a lead role. For a full job description click here.

Facilitation Apprentice
(1 position available)
The Facilitation Apprentice will take on a learning role in the designing and facilitation of the event. The Facilitation Apprentice will work with the facilitation hosts to develop the program agenda and will co-facilitate activities at Disable the Label 2019. This is a learning role, we are looking for someone who is looking to develop their facilitation skills.
                                                                                For a full job description click here.

Head Crew Leader (2 positions available)
Our Head Crew Leaders will help the TNM staff coordinate the Bandana Crews on-site, specifically supporting the Crew Leaders. The Head Crew Leaders will take on a leadership role ensuring that the Facilitation Team is incorporating the Bandana Crews into the event design and activities and will support crew leaders on-site.

Bandana Crews are small groups that are formed within DTL, made up of 8-10 participants, including a mix of youth and adult allies and one or two designated Crew Leaders. The purpose of the Crews is to further build a sense of connection and support among participants. Within these smaller groups, the Crews create space for everyone to check-in and debrief each day and build relationships with a group of people they may not have otherwise connected with.
For a full job description click here.

Hosting Team Apprentice
(1 position available
)
The Hosting Team Apprentice will take on a learning role working with many different members of the hosting team to learn what it takes to put on a 4-day leadership retreat. At the end of DTL2019, the apprentice will have learned the different aspects of hosting an event and will have a better understanding of which role(s) they are interested in. This is a learning role, we are looking for someone who is looking to develop skills and support their fellow teammates. For a full job description click here.

Application Tips!

  • 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 DTL2019 Hosting Team.
  • Review the questions before you enter the online application. To view a PDF of the application, click here.
  • When answering each question don’t just list your answer, it’s generally better to explain one scenario, skill or experience in detail rather than providing a long list of things you’ve done without an explanation. For example, if a question is asking you about your skills, we’d prefer to hear in detail about 1-3 rather then 10 with no explanation.
  • Don’t try to fit a box of what you think we’re looking for, just be yourself! The DTL hosting team is made of people from different backgrounds, skills, and life experience, so it’s important on your application to be true to yourself.
  • Volunteering on the hosting team is a big commitment, be sure to read the job description carefully so you understand the skills, experience, and time commitment needed for each role.

To Apply for the Facilitation Host Click Here

To Apply for the Facilitation Apprentice Click Here

To Apply for the Head Crew Leader Click Here

To Apply for the DTL Hosting Team Apprentice Click Here

APPLICATIONS due April 1, 2019, AT NOON

If completing the written application is a barrier to you applying in any way let us know! You can email Mary-Anne Leahy at mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca and we’ll make other arrangements for you to apply.

If you have a question about the application, please feel free to contact us at mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca


Disable the Label 2018 Art Harvest

The New Mentality is excited to release the 2018 Disable the Label Art Harvest. A book of poetry & guided meditation reflecting the experience of the movers, shakers, and leaders at DTL 2018.

At Disable the Label 2018 we took a deep dive exploring race, equity, inclusion, and intersectionality while taking the time to reflect on each of our personal power and privilege. Our on-site Artists-in-Residence lighthaüs & Devynne listened, reflected, and created art to amplify our individual and collective experience over the four days we spent together. Each morning they opened our day grounding us in the previous day’s experience while giving us space to reflect as for many of us this was the first time we were having these conversations. After Disable the Label our Harvesting Mentor Caitlin reflected on the powerful written word created by lighthaüs & Devynne and created paintings to go with each piece.

We want to thank lighthaüs, Devynne, and Cait R for bringing life to our experiences at Disable the Label and allowing those who weren’t there to now be able to share in the experience and Johnny Nguyen for putting it all together!

CLICK HERE FOR THE 2018 Disable the Label ART HARVEST 

About the Artists

Devynne is a Toronto-based Singer, Writer, Educator and Visual artist, who finds inspiration in the beauty of nature. Simple yet all encompassing, Devynne is a lover of all that is music. Her voice and versatile, rhythmic style are influenced by the soundscapes of R&B, Soul, Hip Hop, and Reggae. She uses her creativity to reconnect to her roots and to heal. Her philosophy rests on the notion that there is great power in vulnerability.

lighthaüs uses words, sound and space to evoke moments of awareness that foster healing, self-reflection, and ultimately a foundation for inner exploration. through this expression, lighthaüs determines to touch the spiritual with the material, within each listener

 

Caitlin has always been an intermittent artist. While she has always appreciated the power in creative expression and artistic communication, she has underestimated its potential to make change. The past few years have opened her heart and her mind to such previously overlooked opportunities. It is from this growing perspective that she attempts to live and speak more from the heart.


Mental Health Advocate Amanda McGraw urges the conversation to continue after Bell Lets Talk Day

BellLetsTalk day, a day where we as a collective come together online to talk about something that, although is becoming more common, is still very taboo; mental health. January 30th 2019 is BellLetsTalk day, we know that we can expect a lot of hashtags, a lot of personal stories, and a lot of people coming forward with their most vulnerable feelings.

It is days like this that give space to the ones who are most unheard, it gives space to those who want to take a stand, and it gives space to those who want to work toward reducing stigma.  But there’s one thing to remember; BellLetsTalk is just one day. Albeit, a very important day nonetheless, we have to remember that there are still 364 other days a year to keep the conversation going and work towards taking action. Bell has done an amazing job at starting the conversation, they’ve created a movement–but it’s up to us as a community to continue on that movement. Talking about mental health is scary, there’s immense stigma attached to what it means to be mentally ill, a lot of ignorance and hate and misconceptions, but how do you ensure that we don’t allow ignorance to continue? You keep talking, you take action, and you don’t stop at just one day.

BellLetsTalk day opens up the conversation, but the real question is what happens afterward? Where do we go? What do we do? Sometimes these can be daunting questions, it may seem impossible to really move forward and drive change in your community. You can start by reaching out to your local mental health agency, see if there are any volunteer positions, ask if there are any forums or conferences that are taking community voice. Reach out to your local MPP to talk about what kind of initiatives are happening in your city, or just to talk about what their plan is for your city and mental health as a whole. Don’t have time to do those things, or feeling scared of those steps? Try starting with smaller things such as reaching out to friends, family, or coworkers. Let people know that it’s okay to talk about their struggles, don’t be afraid to start the conversation—don’t let stigma win. We all, as a collective, want to abolish stigma. We all as a collective want to create space and live in communities where it’s okay to talk about the hard stuff.

BellLetsTalk day is an amazing start, but it doesn’t end here.

-Amanda McGraw


Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund Project Update

In 2018 The New Mentality received a grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to host 10 free safeTALK trainings across the Province. As we participate in Bell Let’s Talk Day today we want to thank Bell for supporting our New Mentality network to become suicide-alert. 

This project has improved the New Mentality’s youth and adult allies’ capacity to support suicide first aid in their communities. Through this initiative, 250 youth and adult allies will be trained to recognize when thoughts of suicide are present, how to directly ask if someone is having thoughts of suicide, and the appropriate steps to take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources. Through training youth, adult allies, and community members, communities across Ontario will be suicide-safer.

This project was launched at Disable the Label 2018 where 20 youth mental health advocates were trained to become suicide-alert helpers. Since then we have hosted trainings in Timmins, Thunder Bay, Mississauga, Burlington, Ottawa and Toronto. In February 2019 we will conclude this project with three trainings happening in Woodstock, Sarnia, and Peterborough.

Impact on New Mentality Network

“As a youth, I have been involved in peer to peer support in child and youth mental health for eight years but found it difficult to talk about suicide. Suicide attempts are on the rise with youth. It is real. It is happening. Taking the safeTALK training has provided a way to have that very difficult conversation which can result in saving a life.” –Deserae Gable, New Mentality Kingston with the Maltby Centre

The New Mentality currently has 24 groups across Ontario. One of their main activities is hosting events and speaking in their communities, with a focus on reducing stigma, improving local mental health services, and educating youth on where to go in their community for support. These events are highly successful and engage a large number of community members. Some groups reach over 1,000 individuals a year.

Due to the nature of this work, New Mentality youth and allies act as informal gatekeepers – they are often the initial contact for people talking about mental health challenges. 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 when they feel someone might be having thoughts of suicide. Through improving the capacity of these gatekeepers to address, notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts might be present, they will help build a responsive community and help save lives.

About safeTALK

safeTALK is an half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experiences 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 intervention resources, such as Ontario’s community-based mental health system.


Youth Action Committee Launches Youth-Led Policy Project, From Crisis to Quality

THE YOUTH ACTION COMMITTEE IS EXCITED TO LAUNCH ITS THIRD YOUTH-LED POLICY PROJECT AT CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH ONTARIO’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE

At the 2018 CMHO Conference, The New Mentality’s and Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s joint Youth Action Committee (YAC) is excited to release their third youth-led policy paper, From Crisis to Quality, which is aimed directly at service providers to help build a child and youth mental health system in Ontario that is one of quality, continuity, and that meets the needs of all children and youth of diverse backgrounds. In addition to the release of this groundbreaking policy paper, the YAC will be releasing policy recommendations for the Ontario Provincial Government.

To learn more about this project and access the full policy paper and government recommendations click here 

 

 


Youth Action Committee Applications Open! Deadline January 2 at noon!

The Youth Action Committee (YAC) is currently recruiting for a Co-Chair 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 2018 the YAC released their third youth-led policy paper, From Crisis to Quality, which is aimed directly at service providers to help build a child and youth mental health system in Ontario that is one of quality, continuity, and that meets the needs of all children and youth of diverse backgrounds. In addition to the release of this ground-breaking policy paper, the YAC released policy recommendations for the Ontario Provincial Government.

In 2019, the YAC will continue to work on their project from Crisis to Quality. The focus of the 2019 committee will be to work with service providers and government to implement the youth-led recommendations from the project. As a YAC member, your role will be to help us move the recommendations into implementation. 

To learn more about this project click here

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 January-November 2018 (all travel, accommodation, and meal expenses will be covered) and participate in monthly conference calls. YAC Committee members will create a plan to turn the 2018 Crisis to Quality youth-led recommendations into action!  Members are expected to work in a team environment, communicate regularly between meetings, and work individually on assignments and tasks with New Mentality staff.

Co-Chair 

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, organize meeting logistics including organizing travel and assist members with travel to and from meetings within Toronto. Co-Chairs will play a significant leadership role in the YAC project management; including overseeing deadlines and planning.

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 
Time management Strong self-care strategies 

Application Tips!

  • Read the Crisis to Quality Policy Paper for service providers and Policy Recommendations for government before you complete the application. You can find them 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.
  • Review the questions before you enter the online application. To view a PDF of the application click here.

TO APPLY CLICK HERE 
APPLICATIONS DUE Wednesday, JANUARY 2, 2019 at noon

If completing this written application is a barrier to you applying in any way let us know! You can email at mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca and we’ll make other arrangements for you to apply. 

If you have a question about the application, please feel free to contact us at mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca 

 


Response to today’s government announcement and reported elimination of the Ontario Child Advocate Office

Evidence shows that kids and youth are not getting the mental health treatment they deserve, when and where they need it. With the elimination of the Ontario Child Advocate Office, young people will no longer have an independent voice to advocate for them.

“Eliminating this office equates to an attempt to muzzle the voices and concerns of children and youth.” said Mary-Anne Leahy of The New Mentality. “Young people have the right to receive equal services and treatment and to voice their preferences to an independent advocacy body.”

Data shows that children and youth across the province are struggling to receive the critical lifesaving mental health treatment they need. Currently, the Child and Youth Mental Health system is bursting at its seams, with children and youth waiting up to 18 months to receive treatment. The system has been chronically underfunded and, therefore, can’t meet the needs of children, youth and families seeking treatment. Without timely, quality, and on-going treatment options for children and youth we are putting our young people’s future at risk creating an uphill battle for them to emerge as successful, mentally healthy adults who contribute positively to their communities. We are calling on the government to address the urgent funding crisis plaguing the child and youth mental health system in its 2019 Provincial Budget. 


TNM to host four free safeTALK Trainings in November 2018

In 2018 The New Mentality will host a total of 10 safeTALK trainings across the Province. This project was made possible from a grant received from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund. This project will improve the New Mentality’s youth and adult allies’ capacity to support suicide first aid in their communities. Through this initiative, 250 youth and adult allies will be trained to recognize when thoughts of suicide are present, how to directly ask if someone is having thoughts of suicide, and the appropriate steps to take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources.

In November 2018 we will host 4 free trainings in partnership with four TNM Groups

Children’s Centre Thunder Bay

Date: Saturday, November 10, 2018
Time: 10am-2pm
Location: Insight (594 Memorial Avenue, Thunder Bay) 
To register email the New Mentality’s adult Ally Hannah at hmiller@childrenscentre.ca 

Peel Children’s Centre 

Date: Saturday, November 17, 2018
Time: 12-4pm
Location: TDB, Mississauga
To register email the New Mentality’s adult Ally Omar at ogoodgame@peelcc.org

ROCK

Date: Friday, November 23, 2018
Time: 10am-2pm
Location: Danielle’s Place (895 Brant Street Unit #3, Burlington) 
To register email the New Mentality’s adult Ally Erica at ericac@rockonline.ca

Peterborough Youth Services

Date: Friday, November 23, 2018
Time: 11am-2:30pm
Location: Peterborough Public Library, Multipurpose Room  
To register send your name, age, and any questions to psyyouth@pysonline.ca 

About safeTALK 

safeTALK is an half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experiences 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 intervention resources, such as Ontario’s community-based mental health system. 


Disable The Label 2018 Day-by-Day Walk Through

Each year for the past 11 years, The New Mentality has hosted our annual summer leadership training retreat known as Disable the Label (DTL) for youth organizers in the mental health system. The event brings together over 100 participants, including youth leaders, community organizers, and adult allies from across the province, who gather to learn and enhance their youth engagement skills, share their local projects, and build meaningful connections. At Disable the Label, together we grow our capacity to be mental health advocates and use our voices to make a positive change in the children’s mental health system in Ontario.

Disable the Label 2018 was the next step in The New Mentality’s evolution. As always, we focused on youth leadership, youth engagement in mental health, and our efforts and aspirations toward system change. With the growth of the network, so too did the scope of our intentions widen to become more intentional towards anti-oppressive practices and spaces.

Day One

The first day was about arriving. Finding the balance between getting out of our comfort zones and allowing space for our electrified nerves to settle as we began to meet new friends and settle into the DTL experience. As a way to nourish meaningful connections, youth and adult allies were placed into “Crews,” which were small sub-groups of 8-10 people who we spent the next four days together learning, growing, and supporting each other through the different sessions and activities. Our Crews allowed us to meet and interact with others doing change-making work around child and youth mental health and our peers practicing youth engagement across the province. It can be nerve-wracking to step away from the familiarity of our New Mentality home groups, but each person was willing to try.

In our Crews, we created flags that encouraged us to explore who we are as individuals – looking as deeply and sharing as much as we felt comfortable with – and looking at the identity of our newly formed Crew. Each Crew approached the flag in a unique way. Some had each crew member design a fabric patch to show some of who they were individually and then created a separate, collective patch that represented their Crews; others created one flag patch to which everyone contributed, while others worked on their individual patches and found ways to piece it together to showcase the collective group. Although some of our Crews approached the activity in different ways, at the end of the activity each Crew had beautiful and creative flags that represented who they were as individuals and as a collective.   

Day Two

One of the cornerstones of DTL is that we create our space together, in a workshop known as Braver Space. Braver Space is a session that explores how we can be in a more honest relationship with ourselves, with each other, and with the land. As a group, we create vulnerable expressions of our individual needs and offerings in order to thrive over the upcoming week and tend to the collective needs of the group. Some of the needs listed included compassion, humour, and non-judgement, while offerings ranged from jokes to hugs to compassionate listening and support.   

The afternoon brought us into an anti-oppression workshop. Since we were all approaching the subject from different levels of understanding, this workshop was intended to be an introduction to what oppression is and how we see it manifested in our daily lives. We explored the different ways we group ourselves – our commonalities and our differences – as a way to sink into the idea of marginalization and oppression. Digging deeper, we looked at societal messaging, systemic oppression and discrimination, and how those influences play out in our day-to-day lives. As we walked along the barriers faced by different marginalized groups, we turned our gazes towards our own New Mentality groups to ask ourselves what barriers might exist for others to join and what solutions might be laying next to them, yet to be uncovered.


In the evening we focused on caring for ourselves and having fun! We took the time to look after our own individual needs in order to re-energize for the next two days of DTL. We sought out lightheartedness and relaxation. From frisbee to magic tricks, poetry to music jam sessions, yoga to basketball, to journaling and even bracelet making, there were a variety of activities to choose from, each led by DTL participants.   

Day Three

On the morning of day three, we followed the energy from the previous day. Rather than doing our planned World Cafe, we opened with ceremony, acknowledging our individual journeys through oppressive spaces, the emotions stirred, and then intertwining ourselves to move together, united. Space was held for introducing ourselves to the entire circle – to see others and to be seen ourselves – in order to find comfort in the connections with those around us. 

The afternoon brought us into several concurrent sessions, including a safeTALK training, an Adult Ally session, and a youth engagement session hosted by the Office of the Ontario Child Advocate.

Adult Ally Session: In the last few years, this has become an annual session, providing space for adult allies to have one-on-one time with each other. It offers the opportunity for them to discuss current challenges as well as share in successes and how they were achieved.

SafeTALK: With the growth of our work around child and youth mental health and the practice of youth engagement, it is important to ensure that youth have the capacity to hold these conversations while remaining safe themselves.

About SafeTALK: safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. 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 intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.

OCA Session: The Ontario Child Advocate brought a team of Youth Amplifiers and staff to deliver a workshop on youth engagement. The workshop looked at how the OCA incorporates youth engagement into its work and supports youth-led projects, with a focus on the Feathers of Hope project.

As we moved into our final activity, a series of art stations, we returned to art as a way to hold and express conversations around our roles in youth engagement. We broke into smaller groups and had conversations about leadership, and explored what each of our own authentic leadership looks like. Through painting, poetry, drama, and sewing/mixed media, these discussions were guided by things we had learned along our journeys at home, as well as pulling in new learning from the past few days. We explored the different roles we carry at different times, as well as what we need to feel empowered within these roles.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Disable the Label without the Talent Not Required show. Organized and emceed by DTL participants, Nick and Murphy, it was a night to share poetry, music, dance, etc. Regardless of how silly or random, each person stepping forward – daring to be so vulnerable – was truly held and supported by all.

Day Four

On our last day together, youth and adult allies had the chance to set the agenda through an Open Space session. Fed by our own unique experiences, this knowledge exchange encouraged us to call our own sessions based on something we wanted to offer as a teaching or to further explore any topics that burned inside us. Building on this momentum, after our Open Space session we returned to our home groups in order to share what each of us had learned over the week. This was a time for looking forward – where was each group heading? – and using our learning to inform on our direction. This was a time for action planning – how can we arrive at our goal? – to pull from our collective knowledge to guide us.

The end of day four signalled the end of the week, and we brought our time together to a close in circle. Each Bandana Crew presented their flag – snippets of individual stories that were woven together. Beneath open skies, we honoured those who have been with The New Mentality over the years – the ones returning and welcomed in the newness. We breathed in the wisdom of our elders, of generations before us, and opened our hearts to the connections between us, silent beneath the surface. Messages of family, formed outside of genetic codes, whispered that we are not alone on our journeys and hinted towards all we can accomplish when we are united – the magic that we are.

Written in Collaboration with Caitlin Robb and TNM Staff      


TNM to Host 10 safeTALK Trainings in 2018

In 2018 The New Mentality will host 10 safeTALK trainings in partnership with Children and Youth Mental Health Agencies and one post-secondary institution in Ontario. This project was made possible by a grant received from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund.

This project will improve the New Mentality’s youth and adult allies’ capacity to support suicide first aid in their communities. Through this initiative, 250 youth and adult allies will be trained to recognize when thoughts of suicide are present, how to directly ask if someone is having thoughts of suicide, and the appropriate steps to take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources.

This project was launched at Disable the Label 2018 where 20 youth mental health advocates were trained to become suicide-alert helpers. Disable the Label is The New Mentality’s annual conference that prepares youth and adult allies to be leaders in mental health advocacy in Ontario. Through training youth, adult allies, and community members, communities across Ontario will be suicide-safer.

The agencies that will be partnering with to deliver each  safeTALK training are:

  • North Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services (training will be hosted at the Timmins location)
  • Children’s Centre Thunder Bay
  • The Lynwood Charlton Centre (Hamilton)
  • Reach out Centre for Kids (ROCK) (Halton Region)
  • Peel Children’s Centre
  • Algonquin College (Ottawa)
  • Peterborough Youth Services
  • The New Mentality Provincial Network (to be held in Toronto)

Training Dates will be announced in late September 2018!

Impact on New Mentality Network

“As a youth, I have been involved in peer to peer support in child and youth mental health for eight years but found it difficult to talk about suicide. Suicide attempts are on the rise with youth. It is real. It is happening. Taking the safeTALK training has provided a way to have that very difficult conversation which can result in saving a life.” –Deserae Gable, New Mentality Kingston with the Maltby Centre

We have 24 New Mentality groups across Ontario. One of their main activities is hosting events and speaking in their communities, with a focus on reducing stigma, improving local mental health services, and educating youth on where to go in their community for support. These events are highly successful and engage a large number of community members. Some groups reach over 1,000 individuals a year.

Due to the nature of this work, our youth and allies act as informal gatekeepers – they are often the initial contact for people talking about mental health challenges. 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 when they feel someone might be having thoughts of suicide. Through improving the capacity of these gatekeepers to address, notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts might be present, they will help build a responsive community and help save lives.

About safeTALK

safeTALK is an half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experiences 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 intervention resources, such as Ontario’s community-based mental health system.


Disable the Label 2018 Program and Resource Package Released!

6 MORE DAYS UNTIL #DTL2018!

At Disable the Label 2018, we will explore what it means to be part of a movement, and to co-create community within that movement that makes us feel stronger, healthier, and unstoppable. The magic and strength of The New Mentality has always been found in the strong bonds and meaningful relationships that propel our projects forward creating real change in the mental health system.

But creating change in the mental health system is not easy, especially when we are struggling with our own mental health. We need our youth facilitators, group members, and adult allies to support each other. How we are with one another influences not only the heart of the work, but also our ability to perform and execute our roles in our groups and ultimately our group projects.

What do we need as individuals to nourish our own well-being? How do we strike a balance between self-care and community-care? How are we accountable to our group projects while managing our mental health?

At DTL 2018, we will explore what it means to be part of the New Mentality community and how we can support each other to reach our individual and project goals. There will be hands-on skill development sessions woven around conversations that matter, creating deep connections and empowering spaces for us to be our full self.

Check out the DTL 2018 Full Program & Youth Resource Package 


Mental Health & The Education System

By: Evan Rogers, Youth Mental Health Advocate

Over the last year, my passion for mental health in the education system has increased greatly. It is in my opinion that the education system has the greatest opportunity to help youth with their mental health. Although full responsibility should not be placed on the education system, the opportunity to connect to youth at school is immense. Over the past year, I have been thinking about the idea of well-being clubs in schools. The Ontario Student Trustees Association, has released a set of policy level recommendations that include the government enshrining the right to create a well-being committee in each school. I feel that if this was to occur, many schools would adopt the concept and collaborate to help improve mental health in their schools.  

Another reason I feel that mental health should be better addressed in schools is because youth rank school as one of the leading factors that affect their mental health. I feel that if issues were addressed at a system level that improvement would be seen quicker and at higher quality. We also would see improvement because the needs of each area for youth are so much different. We commonly see the theme of issues in northern ontario that relate to accessibility, quality of services and other things in both education and mental health services.  

 Another improvement I would like to see in the mental health aspect of education is increased funding for support workers. The funding formula for guidance counsellors are vastly different than those of secondary schools. I feel that the funding formula needs to better represent the needs of elementary and secondary schools. Another integral part of education is special education. We see more and more, more students requiring supports that are outside of the mainstream student. The lack of funding over the years has resulted in students not getting the support they require to reach their full potential.  

Overall, the lack of support from the provincial government in the last decade is finally coming to light to have the conversations needed to fix it. The hashtag #kidscantwait has been recognized by many and steps are being taken to implement solutions to address the issues surrounding the youth mental health crisis in ontario. Finally, it is in my humble opinion, that a major step to improving the state of youth mental health, we need to look to the education system. 


A New Way of Advocating

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all having a fantastic day and a great start to Mental Health Week!

First off, let me introduce myself!

My Name is Jaydon and I come from a small town just outside of our nation’s capital. I’ve been a Mental Health Advocate and a member of The New Mentality for going on five years now. Typically, in my line of work, the tasks includes things such as public speaking, event planning, social media campaigns, and just generally spreading awareness around important issues. In the past two years I’ve taken a bit of a step back and decided to take a different approach to advocating by getting involved with policy work and politics.

Ok, enough about me and my past. Let’s get to the real reason on why I’m writing to you today.

Today I’m going to be talking to you about a new and improved way of advocating that I started doing back in November. And that is advocating in the gaming community.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved video games. I’m sure a lot of other gamers out there can relate but whenever I was at a rough patch in my life or I was having a bad day. Playing video games was like my release from reality. It was like something that I could do that could distract me from almost any negativity that occurred in my life. As I grew older and technology started to advance, I started meeting all sorts of people and communities via different video games, which really helped me with my social anxiety when it comes to meeting new people. If I was never introduced to the gaming community I would have never met one of my best friends or any of the other amazing people that I have come across along the way. So all in all I see it as a really positive thing.

That all being said though, there is a lot of negative stigma surrounding the gaming community, and sadly some of it is true. I will be the first to admit that even though that I had an overall positive experience with the gaming community, I had some really negative experiences as well. Specifically with cyber-bullying and people who were acting toxic. Which definitely didn’t help when I was trying to use it as a platform to help myself.

Now taking both those points into consideration and also considering the volunteer work I do, I thought to myself: “Why can’t I mix the two things I love together? Advocating and gaming. In November of 2017 I signed up and joined this website called Twitch. Twitch is an online community where millions of people and thousands of interests collide in a beautiful explosion of videogames, pop culture, and conversation. So basically people from all over the world live stream themselves while playing video games, music, hosting talk shows, and other cool things like that!

Shortly after I joined, I started streaming under the name “That Positive Gamer”. As you can see in the name, it says “Positive Gamer” which is exactly what I try and do. My overall hope is to just try and create a more positive gaming experience for people on the internet, by sharing laughs, spreading love, and just letting people know that they matter and that not all of the internet is filled with toxic and hateful people.

This year, on my channel. I actually hosted a Bell Let’s Talk Livestream for Bell Let’s Talk Day in January. I spent the day playing games, listening to music, sharing my story regarding mental health, sharing quotes and submissions that viewers sent in, as well as educating people on Bell Let’s Talk and Mental Health as a whole. It actually turned out great! I ended up getting a really positive response from the viewers, I had a steady viewership of 10-15 people, and by the end of the day over 300 people tuned in from all across the globe to see the broadcast. Which was absolutely amazing!

Over the next few months I really want to focus on developing more content! Some of my ideas include:

– Creating a YouTube Channel
– Hosting more talk shows with other streamers
– Doing Awareness Streams for certain days such as Bell Let’s Talk or Suicide Prevention Day
– Establishing more charity streams in which I can start to raise money for CMHO and The New Mentality
– Live streaming events that are related to my advocacy work such as events that CMHO or The New Mentality put on.
– And much more!

If you want to be updated when I’m going live or for more information feel free to follow me or visit me at:

https://www.twitch.tv/thatpositivegamer/

(Note: If you wish to follow me or message in my chat when I’m streaming you’ll have to create an account, but don’t worry! It’s free!)

Or my Twitter at: @ThatPositiveG

A huge thank you to all of my friends, family, and supporters who’ve supported me since Day One, I love you all! <3


Youth Action Committee 2017 Project Update

At the start of 2017, Our Joint Youth Action Committee (YAC) with Children’s Mental Health Ontario began work on its third youth-led policy project. The committee, composed of  youth from across Ontario, first met in March in Toronto to discuss their experiences with the mental health system and what they had heard from other youth in their communities, and begin to work toward identifying the next focus of their youth-led policy work.

As the committee continued to meet through the year, they began to narrow their focus onto looking at gaps in mental health services, particularly for groups facing heightened risk of marginalization. The committee decided to host two youth summits based on this overarching topic, and to use what they heard from youth about their experiences to help narrow down the focus.

The committee hosted two events in the fall of 2017. The first event was hosted in Thunder Bay in October, in partnership with the Children’s Centre of Thunder Bay. Two of the youth groups at Children’s Centre were already planning a summit in the fall, so the YAC joined as partners and hosted a conversation as part of this event. The committee hosted successful conversations with youth from Thunder Bay and the surrounding area.

The committee also hosted a provincial youth summit in Toronto in November. This summit brought together over 70 youth for a dynamic day-long event full of challenging and complex conversations. Through our engagement with youth at these two events, the committee deepened its understanding of the experiences of accessing services of youth facing mental health challenges, and some of the specific challenges and barriers faced by youth facing heightened risk of marginalization.

As of December 2017, the committee completed a document summarizing key themes and findings. The 2018 committee will continue to analyze the findings and collect more input from youth, aiming for a release of our completed policy document by November 2018.

At this time, we are excited to release our 2017 Summary Document, outlining key findings from our work in 2017. Over the year we will continue to engage with youth – if you’re interested in contributing, join the TNM mailing list to receive opportunities as they arise.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SUMMARY OF THE 2017 YOUTH POLICY SUMMITS


The 2017 Youth Action Committee project was proudly sponsored by:

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.

 


Growing Still: Operation Podcast

When Skylark’s 2018 group for The New Mentality began, our initial brainstorms on ideas to spread positive mental health messages kept bringing us back to how negative ideas of mental health get spread.

Mental health is being accepted more and more as we continue to advocate for it. We discussed how it seems visibility in mental health has improved because of initiatives like The New Mentality and #BellLetsTalk. Though while conversations about mental health are happening, the impact can be harmful when they aren’t happening correctly.

We want people to know that mental health is more than just depression and anxiety. We want people to know that when it is depression and anxiety, it isn’t going to look the same as you may have seen in the media. Mental health isn’t something that is seen, it’s something that’s experienced. So we decided to create a resource that contained honest information about youth and mental health: our stories.

Growing Still is a podcast about embracing youth autonomy by giving us our own voice. We interviewed students, community volunteers, friends, and strangers asking for their perspective being a youth and navigating mental health. The focus of season one for Growing Still is on ‘How Adults Can Talk To Youth About Mental Health’

“What I would tell adults is, please never give up on me.” – Anonymous Youth

 These are the words of a Toronto teen we interviewed last month.

The reason why we’re starting with conversation strategies for adults when talking to youth, is because adults have a powerful influence on us. We depend on them more than just financially. We model after their behaviours and catch glimpses of the people we could be in the future. There are many adults in our lives that have been wonderful and educational in supporting each of our mental health journeys, so we aren’t trying say adults can’t talk to youth about mental health. Instead we ask, how will adults know how to talk to youth about mental health if we don’t tell them?

We hear you, and now we’d like you to hear us.

I mean, if you want. No pressure. #selfcare

We’ll be launching the pilot episode of Growing Still at the end of mental health week, but you can catch our preview here:

Stayed tuned for more updates from us and if you or someone you know would like to be involved in the podcast, you can email us at growingstillpodcast@gmail.com.


Calling All Youth Mental Health Advocates in the 2018 Provincial Election

This election Youth Mental Health Advocates across the province will be keeping all political parties accountable for their promises as we call on them to make an immediate investment in child and youth mental health and addictions services. 

We have seen major child and youth mental health funding promises made by the Liberals through their $570 million budget commitment over 4 years, the NDP through their $590 million platform commitment over 5 years, and an overall mental health commitment by the PCs of $1.9 billion over 10 years.

However, we need to keep all parties accountable and ensure they deliver on these promises after the election. We need to send a clear message that we appreciate the promises made during the election, but we also expect action once the election is over.

To accomplish this, we are calling all youth mental health advocates to engage with candidates from all political parties. Youth must let their candidates know that we are mobilized and ready to act, because kids can’t wait for mental health services.


Below you will find 5 ways to keep your local candidates accountable to children and youth Mental Health!

1.Meet with Your Local Candidates

A crucial part to hold candidates accountable will be to have youth from across the province meeting with their local candidates. This will be your opportunity to directly engage with candidates and explain why an immediate investment in child and youth mental health is needed, and the impact it will have on you and your peers. If the candidate wins, this will also serve as an opportunity to build a relationship with your prospective MPP and have them become one of our champions at Queen’s Park.

In the fall, some members of the TNM network met with their MPPs. You can read about Amanda Suleiman’s experience here

2. Ask Your Local Candidates to become #KIDSCANTWAIT SUPPORTS 

We will be asking youth mental health advocates to help sign up candidates as a #kidscantwait supporter. As a #kidscantwait supporter, they agree to act to end wait times for children and youth seeking mental health services through increased investments and system improvements.

To become a supporter, we are asking candidates take a photo with our #kidscantwait sign (which can be downloaded here) , and we will share the photo on social media, and on our elections page, profiling their commitment. Include example picture

3. Letters to the Party Leaders

On Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s election page you will be able to send a letter directly to Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath, and Kathleen Wynne outlining the crisis faced by our sector and calling on them to fulfill their promises by making an immediate investment in community-based child and youth mental health services when they are elected. We encourage you to share this link with others in your network. You can make a huge impact in less then 2 minutes!

4. Attend Local Townhall Meetings with Local Candidates

To help demonstrate our presence across the province, and to gain public visibility for our issues, we are encouraging youth to attend townhall meetings with your local candidates. We have suggested questions that can be delivered to candidates at the meeting. These questions can be downloaded here .

5. Share the #DTLDemands Video 

At Disable the Label 2017, Youth Mental Health Advocates spoke to why a critical investment in Children and Youth Mental Health was needed immediately. The video calls on all party leaders in the upcoming election to make a children and youth mental health system in Ontario that allows all young people to find the services and support they need WHEN they need it. Share this video on your social media!

Sample Tweet:
I am calling on you @Kathleen_Wynne @Fordnation @AndreaHorwath @MikeSchreiner to be our champion for children and youth mental health – Check out our #DTLdemands to hear what other youth advocates are demanding in the 2018 election https://youtu.be/dh6yPn8nEcg #kidscantwait #neithercanyoungadults #mentalhealth #onpoli

We invite youth to participate in any or all of these activities. If you require any support or additional information, do not hesitate to reach out to the TNM team (caralyn@thenewmentality.ca)

 


Were Hiring! New Mentality Summer Student


Job Posting: Event Coordinator


Hourly Wage Rate: $14.00/hour
Start Date: June 4, 2018
End Date: July 27, 2018
Number of Hours per Week: 30

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE

Apply for this job if you’re a student between the ages of 15-30 who just finished a year of school and are returning for another year (this is a requirement of the funding for this position). The ideal candidate is interested and/or experienced in youth work, has proven graphic design and social media skills, and loves community mobilization and facilitating groups.

Because this role is within Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s New Mentality Program, you are excited to learn more about and contribute to strengthening mental health services for youth across Ontario.

Perhaps you know first-hand how to recover from a mental health problem like depression and that makes you passionate about this cause. Perhaps you are a visible minority or a person living with a disability and it is from this perspective that you have a passion for empowering youth to make a positive difference in their communities. All of this passion and interest is equally combined with an ability to organize and follow step-by-step plans towards your goal.

THE ROLE
The summer student will work with the New Mentality team out of our Toronto office to help us convene our signature Disable the Label retreat, which bring together over 100 youth, staff and allies for four days in July at YMCA Geneva Park in Orillia. This event brings together leaders from across Ontario who are making a difference in the lives of children and youth with mental illness. The student will support the designing, planning, delivery and reporting of the event. Specifically:

  • Promote training on website and social media
  • Design on-site training materials, including agenda, program, and resource package
  • Coordinate digital media during event, including managing our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts
  • Develop a blog post about the retreat, compile photos and artwork, develop online resources
  • Create one year social media plan and content for The New Mentality
  • Other related tasks as required

KEY QUALIFICATIONS

  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office, WordPress, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Social media enthusiast and expert, skilled at making creative use of different channels
  • Strong writing skills and experience with various types of writing and editing
  • Self-starter with the ability to work well independently, and collaborate well with creative direction
  • Ability to connect with people quickly – an excellent listener
  • Ability to work  under the pressure of  tight timelines and rise to creative challenges
  • Ability to synthesize information and communicate messages in a creative and engaging manner

APPLICATION PROCESS 

To apply complete the online application form; you will need to include your resume and a sample of something you have designed on the application form. To preview the application click here. If you have any questions contact Mary-Anne Leahy, Network Coordinator, The New Mentality; mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca Application deadline: Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Interviews will take place May 22-25.

Please note the successful candidate must be available for our summer retreat, July 17-20, and our planning day on July 16. This involves staying overnight at YMCA Geneva Park in Orillia Ontario.

The New Mentality is committed to equity in our policies, practices, and programs. We strongly encourage and welcome applications from people who identify as Indigenous (Métis, First Nation, Inuit, on/off reserve), a person of colour, LGTBQQ2, living with a disability, or a religious minority.

 


My Visit to Northeastern Ontario!

By Mary-Anne Leahy

Last week I had the privilege go to northeastern Ontario and visit our three groups with NEOFACS (North Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services) in Timmins, Kapuskasing, and Kirkland Lake!

There were four things that were clear at the end of this trip!

  1. The youth in these groups are dynamic, powerful, and full of wisdom
  2. The adult allies of these three groups really care about the youth in the community and want to give them a platform to lead projects that are driven by their passion and issues raised by youth.
  3. Northeastern Ontario has unique challenges
    • Stigma is still very strong and this means that youth aren’t always able to access treatment because of the intense stigma of even entering the building to receive services.
    • There are not enough specialized professionals like psychiatrists and psychologists. Youth are accessing these types of professionals through video-chats which some youth found helpful but others felt they needed a more in-person personal connection.
  4. If you’re going to be travelling up north in the winter you need a truck!

My Trip

After a short but delayed flight due to weather I arrived in Timmins from Toronto ready for my first group visit! I arrived early to meet with Adult Ally Ellen Renaud to talk about the group and what it’s like to access services in Timmins. I was happy to learn that they were not struggling with wait times much like the rest of the province. This seemed promising until I learned about other areas they were experiencing gaps in services, like not having on-site specialists. It is clear to me that not only do we need a significant annualized investment in children and youth mental health – $120 million to be exact + $40 million to support transitional aged youth. But that we need youth and services providers from across the province to help the government understand how to best invest this money so children and youth across the province get the mental health treatment they need when they need and specific to their geographical, cultural, and individual needs. This visit really opened my eyes that every community in Ontario has different needs and it is critical that our government understands that.

The next morning I woke up to an email from Ellen saying the weather was too bad and I couldn’t drive to Kapuskasing. To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. I wanted to go but being my first time driving out there I felt I should probably listen. I decided to test out the roads by driving to the rental car company to see about upgrading my dinky compact car with no winter tires. Well… I ran 2 red lights and almost hit 3 cars so it was safe to say this car wasn’t going to get me to Kapuskasing! Luckily they had Ford 4 by 4 truck and I was on the road again!

Kapuskasing was small. Even smaller then I imagined. I met with three youth from the New Mentality group and learned so much about what it means to struggle with your mental health in a small community. The youth spoke strongly about how mental health can intersect with other identities in our life like gender and sexuality. The youth in this group had a ton of great recommendations on how to improve the agency – like dimmer switches! They said in the counselling rooms the lights were too bright and distracting when they were in sessions and felt that a dimmer switch would allow youth to decide what type of lighting works best for them so they are as comfortable as possible before they bare their soul and struggles to their counsellor. They stressed the importance of youth feeling comfortable in counselling spaces. It was great to see NEOFACS already taking into account the suggestions from the group by adding posters to the counselling rooms to make them more youth friendly!

Kirkland Lake was beautiful, I went for a tour of the town with Adult Ally Susan Ranta, I must have asked her a thousand questions about the area! I was interested to learn Kirkland Lake had a buzzing music scene that brought in big bands and the community hosted an annual winter carnival that I wish I could attend as it sounds like a lot of fun! The New Mentality meeting was amazing, like the other groups the youth were dynamic, powerful, full of wisdom, welcoming and lots of fun! They have a ton of great project ideas to help reduce stigma in their community and have lot of great recommendations of how to improve mental health services in their community. Something I really liked that the group did was when the McKayla, the youth facilitator of the group, asked a question and then we went around and answered it. One of the questions was “what’s something you have overcome?” It was a really cool way for the group to get to know each other and learn more about each person on an individual level.

There was no question in mind when I flew back to Toronto that the youth I met are forces to be reckoned with and are full of wisdom and that the staff at NEOFACS really care about youth engagement and making it a really positive experience for youth. I look forward to my next visit (hopefully in warmer weather!)

 

 

 


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. 

Co-Chair 

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.

TO APPLY CLICK HERE 
APPLICATIONS DUE SUNDAY, JANUARY 28, 2018

If completing this written application is a barrier to you applying in any way let us know! You can email Mary-Anne Leahy at mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca 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 mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca 

 


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.


Disable the Label Demands – 2017 Video Release

We are youth from across Ontario that are advocating on behalf of our ourselves, our loved ones, our peers, our future generations for a mental health system in Ontario that meets our needs, that delivers us effective and compassionate treatment, where and when we need it.

We are calling on our government to step up and be our champion for children and youth mental health. Because there are cracks in our system and we are falling through them. 

Join us in our movement to make a children and youth mental health system in Ontario that allows all young people to find the services and support they need WHEN they need it. We are beyond words, and broken promises we need an investment in children and youth mental health now.

To support the #kidscantwait campaign visit http://kidsmentalhealthcantwait.ca/

To learn more about our Disable the label 2017 demands click here

Thank you Marc Taylor for producing this video! 


Register Today! Mental Health Youth Summit

The New Mentality’s provincial Youth Action Committee, in collaboration with the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, is excited to be hosting a half-day Youth Summit in Toronto on Sunday, November 12 at the Hilton Hotel (145 Richmond Street West).

Youth from across the province are invited to join us for a day of conversation and connection, where young people will have the space to form policy recommendations for government about how to improve mental health services in Ontario. The information gathered at the Youth Summit will be used to create a youth-led policy document on the important policy topic of gaps in mental health services for children and youth.

TO REGISTER CLICK HERE! 

Overview of day (subject to change)

11:30am – Registration and Lunch
12:00pm – Summit Opening
12:30pm-4:30pm – Workshops and Policy Conversations
4:30pm – Closing Activity
5:00pm – Summit Concludes

Please note any dietary restrictions or other needs when you register.

Please note that by attending this event youth are consenting for the Youth Action Committee to use their suggestions, ideas, and wisdom in the youth-led policy document.

Learn more about our Youth-led policy here!

If you have any questions, contact mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca 


New Mentality Receives Bell Let’s Talk Grant

The New Mentality received funding from The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to improve suicide first aid capacity for youth in Ontario. This project will improve the New Mentality’s internal capacity in suicide first aid and improve the capacity of 250 youth and adult allies to support people experiencing suicidal feelings. Using the LivingWorks safeTALK model TNM staff members will be trained to become safeTALK trainers and will then deliver 10 safeTALK trainings across Ontario. Through improving suicide first aid in our network, more youth and adult allies will be able to provide support to individuals in their communities

safeTALK is an alertness training that prepares anyone over 15, regardless of prior experiences 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 intervention resources, such as Ontario’s community-based mental health system.

We have 20 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 youth on local services. These events are highly successful and engage a large number of community members. Some groups reach over 1,000 individuals each year.

“As a youth, I have been involved in peer to peer support in child and youth mental health for eight years but found it difficult to talk about suicide. Suicide attempts are on the rise with youth. It is real. It is happening. Taking the SafeTALK training has provided a way to have that very difficult conversation which can result in saving a life. -Deserae Gable, New Mentality facilitator with Pathways for Children and Youth in Kingston Ontario

Due to the nature of this work, our youth and 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 to support an individual who might be suicidal. Through improving capacity of these gatekeepers to address, notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts might be present, and improving their awareness of community resources and how to connect someone with thoughts of suicide to them for further help, this will improve access to existing mental health services and supports.

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


I am Alive

Yeah I’m still here

Celebrate your wisdom
Celebrate your worth
Celebrate your light
Celebrate your birth
Celebrate the power, deep down in your soul
Celebrate vulnerability
And the gift of letting go

Youthfulness, connectivity
Listen just as much as you see
Shining through invisibility
One with the Spirit in ceremony
Got the light and its not hard to see
Got the light and its not hard to see
Got the light and its not hard to see
Fire starting revolutionary

Yeah I’m still here!

Rise up, Rise up
Warrior Divine
Weaving enchantments
Aligning the times
Shifting and changing
With winds as they blow
Representing the passion inside of your soul
Beat down the walls
Beat down the walls
Inside of your mind
As you bloom and you thrive
Beat down the walls
Beat down the walls
Ohana, my dear,
We leave no one behind

I am alive,
Yeah I’m still here

That feminine Devynne
Done opened up your mind
Got to find the perfect balance
Got that energy refined
Got this power in my womb
I’m aligned with the moon
Ride the waves of the wind
So my flower can bloom
Finessing them connections
Your reflection in mine
Knowledge of self
Got my chakras in line

Live your truth
Live your truth
Live your truth
Live your truth

This song was written, created and performed by lighthaüs and Devynne at DTL2017

Follow lighthaüs on twitter @lighthaus
Follow Devynne on Instagram @dat.gyal.deh

 


#DTLDEMANDS

The mental health movement is large, complex, and driven by passionate people that can no longer wait for change. This movement is not new, many advocates before us have spent decades moving society into a place that is more accepting, empathic, and accommodating to people who experience mental health illness. They have worked tirelessly to get better and more humane mental health care for all. The New Mentality has spent the last 10 years dedicated to this movement, focusing on giving young people the platform to advocate for themselves, their loved ones and their peers. We have seen great change in the last 10 years. But it is not enough.

At Disable the Label, our annual summer training retreat for young leaders and their adult allies in the mental health system, we gathered to discuss the current needs of the mental health system in our province and in our local communities. 115 youth and adult allies participated in this conversation. Through talking about where there is a need for change in the mental health system we gathered a list of demands of where we see change needed now! 

We are calling to our community members, mental health professionals, government employees, and local, provincial, and federal politicians to join us in our movement to make a mental health system that allows all young people to find the support they need when they need it. 

These are our #DTLDEMANDS 

Education and Awareness

  1. flip chart 1 2Better education not just within schools but hospitals, politics, ect. We need more professionals to understand mental health. Youth shouldn’t have to deal with so much stress.
  2. We want more money for public education to create awareness and more empathy towards mental health so that everybody can learn to care for each other
  3. SAFEtalk and Assist training for more authority figures
  4. Education about mental health at an early age.

Funding

  1. flip chart 2More funding for mental health services and community resources
  2. More financial commitment- stable and secure funding
  3. Fewer funding restrictions. If something makes sense for my community we need to be able to do it
  4. Funding and support for rural and northern communities – we needed funding YESTERDAY

Schools

  1. IMG_0807Mental health classes in the curriculum in school
  2. Mental health training for teachers
  3. More funding. Increase transparency and accountability.
  4. When I sign out from school there’s not an option for a mental health day. I need that!
  5. Better awareness of IEPs at early stage

Waitlists / Access

IMG_0813 2

  1. NO WAIT LIST
  2. More qualified professionals
  3. More residential treatment centres for youth at need. They can’t stay at hospitals.
  4. More affordable housing
  5. Stop criminalization of mental health re: homelessness
  6. Disability – a lot of of the ODSP workers don’t understand my needs
  7. We want things to be equal – equitable
  8. treating young people and allies equally

Politics and Making Change

  1. Youth should be kept in mind when making policies. They talk about us being the face of the new generation. We need to be a priority. Don’t forget about us. We’re carrying the torch
  2. IMG_0814We want the opportunity to meet with politicians, include people with diversity into discussions
  3. Collaboration within the government, foundations, groups, people
  4. Government to come and see the youth in action would be a big step
  5. More open conversations about disabilities and mental health from politics. We are not heard enough!

Send us your #DTLDEMANDS! 


This is your opportunity to voice your demands and let the political leaders know what changes you want to see carried out. The only way for this to happen is for us to work together and make it happen. Be a part of this movement because as one united voice we will be powerful enough to be noticed and we can create the change we want to see in our mental health system.

How can you get involved?

  • Create a video with at least 3 demands that you want to make happen in the mental health system and write them on pieces of paper
  • Then nominate your friends, family, co-workers, teachers, and classmates and post the video on your social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…etc)
  • Send us your demands @TNMengage on Twitter and Facebook!
  • Make sure you use the hashtags #YouthDemands and #DTLDemands in your video and in your social media post
  • Don’t forget to tweet out your demands to @Kathleen_Wynne current Premier of Ontario and Leader of the Liberal Party, the leader of the PC Party Patrick Brown @brownbarrie and Leader of the NDP Party @AndreaHorwath
  • If you don’t want to make a video find another creative way to share your demands!

Create your own video!

 


Job Posting: New Mentality Summer Intern

Job Posting: New Mentality Summer Intern

Hourly Wage Rate: $11.40/hour

Start Date: June 5, 2017

End Date: August 25, 2017

Number of Hours per Week: 40

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE

Apply for this job if you’re a student between the ages of 15-30 who just finished one year of school and are returning for another year (this is a requirement of the funding for this position). The ideal candidate is interested and/or experienced in youth work, has great graphic design and social media skills, and loves community mobilization and facilitating groups.

Because this role is within Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s New Mentality Program, you are excited to learn more about and contribute to strengthening mental health services for youth across Ontario.

Perhaps you know first-hand how to recover from a mental health problem like depression and that makes you passionate about this cause. Perhaps you are a visible minority or a person living with a disability and it is from this perspective that you have a passion for empowering youth to make a positive difference in their communities. All of this passion and interest is equally combined with an ability to organize and follow step-by-step plans towards your goal.

THE ROLE
The Summer Intern will work with the New Mentality team out of our Toronto office to help us convene our signature Disable the Label retreat, which bring together over 100 youth, staff and allies for four days in July at YMCA Geneva Park in Orillia. This event brings together leaders from across Ontario who are making a difference in the lives of children and youth with mental illness. The Intern will support the designing, planning, delivery and reporting of the event. Specifically:

  • Promote training on website and social media
  • Design on-site training materials, including agenda, program, and resource package
  • Provide on-site support to facilitation team
  • Coordinate digital media during event, including live tweeting, Facebook posts, and photography
  • Develop written report post-event, compile photos and artwork, develop online resources
  • Other related tasks as required

KEY QUALIFICATIONS

  • Advanced knowledge of Micosoft Office, WordPress, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Social media enthusiast and expert, skilled at making creative use of different channels
  • Strong photography skills
  • Strong writing skills and experience with various types of writing
  • Self-starter with the ability to work well independently, and collaborate well with creative direction
  • Ability to connect with people quickly – an excellent listener
  • Ability to work under the pressure of  tight timelines and rise to creative challenges
  • Ability to synthesize information and communicate messages in a creative and engaging manner

To apply, send a resume, cover letter, a sample of something you have designed, and photography samples to Mary-Anne Leahy, Network Coordinator, The New Mentality: mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca. Application deadline: noon Monday, May 8, 2017. Interviews will take place May 24-26. Only applicants

The New Mentality is committed to equity in our policies, practices, and programs. We strongly encourage and welcome applications from people who identify as Indigenous (Métis, First Nation, Inuit, on/off reserve), a person of colour, LGTBQQ2, living with a disability, or a religious minority.


New Mentality Receives Annualized Funding From MCYS

We are happy to announce that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) has committed to investing annualized funding for our Youth Action Committee (YAC). We want to thank the Hon. Minister Michael Coteau for his continued support of the YAC and his dedication to improving children’s and youth mental health services in Ontario.

The 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 ensures that the voices of youth across the province are acknowledged, respected and taken seriously, driving change within the system and raising a unique and valuable voice. Since 2013, the YAC has released two ground-breaking reports addressing wait times in Ontario and mental wellness in the school system.

micheal-coteau

Click here for a letter from Minister Coteau TO New Mentality Youth Leaders


Disable the Label 2017 Registration Opens!

Disable the Label (DTL) is The New Mentality’s annual summer training retreat for young leaders and their adult allies in the mental health system. The event takes place over four days at YMCA Geneva Park in Orillia, Ontario. From Tuesday, July 11 to Friday, July 14 youth and adult allies from across the province gather together to learn skills, share about their local work, and build connections with each other. 

At Disable the Label, we train youth to facilitate groups and create projects that decrease stigma. We teach adults and youth how to engage youth to have a voice within the mental health system. We train youth to use their stories of illness and recovery to make a difference. We connect you to a community of people who are doing the same things. 

This event is not for spectators. It will connect you to people through conversations that matter and ask you to think deeply about the difference you want to make in your community.  

New Mentality Member Rate Regular Registration Rate
Youth: $400 Youth: $475
Adult: $550 Adult: $650

*Includes accommodation in a double room, programming, and all meals. Travel is not included. There are a limited amount of private rooms that are reserved for youth and adults who need them for medical reasons (mental or physical), there is an additional fee of $100 for a private room.

If cost is a barrier to your participation please email mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca – we are open to exploring possibilities for financial support. 

For more information and to register click here

For any questions contact Mary-Anne Leahy mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca 


Shannon Speaks Out Against Bullying #PinkShirtDay

Guest post by Shannon, of The New Mentality

Shannon is a 20-year-old mental health activist with a focus on intersectionality and First Nations rights. She has been sharing her story and speaking about mental health for the last six years. Her biggest goals are to inspire younger youth to get help, and to speak out. She is currently co-chairing Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s and The New Mentality’s Youth Action Committee.

I was bullied from the age of 6 to 17. I’ve had more people hate me, and hurt me than I can count. I remember the first instance of bullying was in Grade 1, when a kid pointed out my wide, flat nose and brown eyes and said I was ugly. It was then when I started to be hyper aware of my looks. I was so young, I shouldn’t have had to have been focusing on my looks. I should have been focusing on school and friends.

In Grade 5 the bullying was unbearable. I would come home from school with new bruises and scratches each day. My parents would take out the camera and photograph the physical abuse I was facing at school because no one at the school or the school board believed me.

In the middle of Grade 6, it got to the point I had a fellow student assault me, and cut my arm with a knife. And when we took my bruised and cut arm to the school board, they said I was a mentally unstable child and I did it to myself to get attention.

At that point my anxiety and depression was SO out of control. I couldn’t leave the house. Let alone make it to the hell on earth others called school. I transferred schools after that. And there wasn’t any better. I wasn’t physically beaten anymore, but I developed an eating disorder and started self-harming to deal with the verbal bullying. 

Looking back at all of this, as the 20-year-old person I now am, I feel nothing but sadness and the urge to hug 11-year-old me, and I’d like to tell her that it gets SO much better; tell her that by age 20 she will be going to cosmetology college and I’d still be best friends currently, with my then best friend. I’d also tell myself to keep talking and reaching out. Never let them silence you. You have a voice and it deserves to be heard, no matter what others seem to think.

-Shannon Nagy