Wind Song (Say the Word)

Written and performed by: lighthaüs & Devynne for Disable the Label 2020 

Devynne 

Chant (x2)
Say the word
Say the word
Just say the word

Beloved
Angel
Sweet child of mine
Crafted to perfection
Apple of my eye

Open your heart
Release the burdens of the past (x2)
Release the shame, the guilt, the trauma
There is nothing
Absolutely nothing that you could ever do
That could make me stop unconditionally loving you
I will sew your heart back together with chords of light
I promise you
Everything’s gonna be alright
Can you feel me as part of you?

You were never forgotten beloved
But I respect you
I respect your need to process your feelings
I respect your need to process all that you’ve been through
Give yourself permission to LET IT GO
Allow the winds of change to transform you
Allow yourself to grow
Give yourself permission to heal
You’ve beaten yourself up long enough

It is time to realize the fullness of your potential
To grab the reins of your life
YOU are in charge
weave all of your traumas, your learnings, your triumphs, your gifts and your mistakes
into a beautiful silk
you are enough beloved
you always were

Sit up. Stand tall.
Accept all you’ve ever been
discard what no long serves you
and when you need me
All you need to do
is say the word beloved
say the word beloved
just say the word

Chant
Say the word
Say the word
Just say the word

lighthaüs

Like fresh dew upon your mourning,
I will dawn on you
And blanket you in my love,
‘Til every tear has been lovingly cleared and your sight is one:
So you can see yourself,
As I see you.

Then darling,
You will lay with me, and be still.
That your heart may open,
And your mind may heal.

Together, we will strip you bare
Of all the unneeded layers you hide behind,
So the sun may kiss your skin
And warm your depths.

Ahhh my child,
There is so much I desire for you,
Ahhh my child,
You are my greatest delight,
Ahhh my child,
You are the song my heart sings,
Ahhh my beloved,
I Am always here,
Just say the word

To Learn more about Disable the Label 2020 click here! 


Week One Opening Art Performance

Defences (My Reflection)
Written and performed by: Devonna “Devynne” Munroe

Why
The sun it falls
My voice comes out so weak
When I try to speak
Apprehension… 

Did I mention
I’m always hiding
Look over
my shoulder
‘cause I don’t want you to see
my mistakes 

Holding on to past shame
Protect my pride
De-friend myself
Against
your wrath
I’d rather …(large exhale) 

And still
I do my
best
My spirit gets
tired
And right
now
I just need to
rest
I need some
rest 

Release 
Written and performed by: lighthaüs

still.
calm.
peace.


I need still, calm, peace
let apprehension melt away


still.
calm.
peace.


these words that are spoken
are for seed.
on the day when
the voice of your mind roars so loud
it deafens your heart.
seek it, beyond the chaos,
as you dive deeply within.


what will you find at your core?


A seed taken root,
roots growing deep.
from the base of your spine,
down into the earth.


the deeper they grow,
the more grounded
and secure you feel
safety,
snuggled in the womb of Mother


the warm golden light
that gifts life to all creation, rises up
up through your roots
bringing life to your germinating seed


a seed must crack open in order to sprout, x2
the shell serves a purpose,
in encasing and protecting the seed,
until that purpose has been served
and is no longer needed.
then the shell must break, x2
the walls must break
the mask must break…


Release,
release everything holding you,
holding you back
from walking truly in all your being.
release, release
let your seed sprout,
let your seed sprout
reaching higher towards the light


a leaf in your core
a leaf at your womb
a leaf for your strength
a leaf for your heart
a leaf for your voice
a leaf at your eye
a flower blooms upon your crown, x3

open, open, open
and from your opening find peace,
and from your piece find a smile
a smile from deep within,
that erupts,
that erupts upwards into your face
a smile that appears on your lips
a smile that all is well
and from that smile let joy enter your entire being
from that joy in your heart
you might want to bounce shoulders
you might want to flow your arms back
you might want to shake your feet a little bit
you might want to wiggle your toes
you might want to whine your waist a little bit
you might want to just get up off your seat… 
get up off your seat and dance!

 


MEET THE 2020 DISABLE THE LABEL HOSTING TEAM

Erin (she/her) has been working with New Mentality for 3 years, beginning as a general member and has been able to gain more opportunities to advocate for mental health awareness in a leadership role from there. She is a member of the Provincial Youth Advisory Committee which plans and advises on the construction of Youth Hubs around the province. This is her third DTL but her first as a member of the Hosting Team and she is very excited (and nervous) ! She is 17 years old and is about to start her senior year of high school. She is especially passionate about the accessibility of mental health services for intersectional and racialized youth, as well as the stigmatization of mental health in ethnic communities. She likes painting, going to museums, playing guitar, and song writing so if you like those too go talk to her about them! 

Diya Mohan (she/her) is a leader, and youth focused on mental health advocacy within her Scarborough community, and throughout Ontario.  She is starting her Grade 12 this upcoming September, and has been involved with TNM since her freshman year, amassing way too many volunteer hours, and developing a passion for youth outreach and reducing community and cultural stigma against mental health. After years of being a general member, she has been given the opportunity to be one of the leaders in her new mentality group, as well as an active member of the Provincial Youth Advisory Council. She is invested in marginalized communities and their relationship within the mental health system, specifically the LGBTQ+ community, and racialized communities. This is her third year at DTL, and after being a bandana crew leader last year, she is simultaneously terrified and really thankful for the chance to be a part of the Hosting team this year. At the risk of sounding vain, she is really nice and pretty approachable, so feel free to talk to her if you ever get the chance! When she isn’t sleeping, eating, or working, she loves poetry, music production, song writing, and David Dobrik.

Austin is excited to be apart of the 2020 DTL hosting team. Austin has been a member of the hosting over the last few years and is very grateful for the DTL experience every year. He is Child and Youth Worker in Ottawa who is currently the live-in foster mentor of a semi-independent transition home. Austin currently lives with two youth who are preparing to transition to independent living at the age of 18. Austin also has frontline CYC experience in a residential and group care. Having some extra time on his hands Austin decided to go back to school for fun. He wanted to learn some practical life skills and decided to take a one year plumbing course. In his free time Austin enjoys running Spartan Races, playing softball, spending time with his niece and nephews, and his dog Jack.

Hi folks! My name is Rachel, and I’m excited to be part of DTL for the first time. I can’t wait to meet you all! I’m a recent graduate from the Community Development and Environmental Studies program at Acadia, and I’ve spent my time there focusing on social justice, facilitation, and accessibility. I’ve been heavily involved in mental health work for a while now, and I have done a bit of everything, including peer support, programming, research, and advocacy. Since graduating, I’ve had enjoyed taking part-time courses, working odd jobs, and learning to take care of myself. I have a billion different hobbies, but you’ll most likely find me reading, hiking, biking, or doing yoga, photography, activism. Oh, and also, I’m a massive nerd/ geek. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you all there!

Dana has been involved in youth mental health advocacy for the past 5 years where she has worked with various groups in Toronto, including Skylark and The New Mentality. Dana is currently attending Western University and Brescia University College to study psychology in hopes of finding a career in the mental health field. In her current community at school, Dana is a peer supporter as she is passionate about helping others. When she is not taking a nap, Dana enjoys reading, rock climbing, crafts, running, re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the millionth time, playing tennis, and looking at photos of her dog, the love of her life. Please ask Dana all about her dog as she loves talking about him and will show you cute photos! This will be Dana‘s 4th DTL and her second time on the Hosting Team. Dana has few photos of herself and would like everyone to ignore the weird bump in her hair. 
 

While Shannon had a difficult time coming to terms with DTL not happening at Geneva Park this year, she is incredibly excited and grateful to be joining everyone virtually! She has been active with TNM in different capacities since 2010. Shannon is a Social Worker in private practice and works out of her home in Hamilton. Her and her therapy dog, Charlie, enjoy spending the days chatting with clients on their healing journey’s and going for strolls on the off hours. 

Helllllllloooooo TNM community! My name is Liv and I have the pleasure and honour of being a mentor for the hosting team at this year’s Disable the Label. You may have heard… DTL is looking a little different this year. When we first found out, I thought “oh great, thanks for this pandemic”. Although it might look different, we are hoping to give everyone the same ‘indescribable’ experience as past years. You may be asking yourself, why is this person so stoked on youth engagement? Well, I’m a provincial YAC alum and have been involved with TNM initiatives for a decade now, drawing from elements of my experiences with mental health, ADHD, and substance abuse to focus my advocacy, organizing, and clinical work. I am enthusiastic, creative, and fun (I’ve been told) and truly believe in TNM’s work in recognizing and supporting the power of youth.

Likes: dogs, caffeine, lakes & oceans, friends, reading
Dislikes: writing in 3rd person, seafood, and hypocrisy     

Hey everyone, Fizza here! excited to be a part of DTL in a different capacity this year. I’ve been apart of this incredible network as a youth facilitator for two years prior to transitioning into the Network Coordinator role. I’m passionate about inclusion, equity and community mobilization in the Addictions and Mental Health sector. I once travelled with 2 days notice on a 30-hour journey to Malaysia, flew an airplane when I was 21, and went horseback riding in the mountains where they filmed Jurassic Park in the Dominican Republic!

I like many of you, was really looking forward to meeting you all in person this year. Disable the Label has always held a special place in my heart. However, I know we will still create the same DTL feel on a digital platform. See you all on zoom!  

Hi! I’m Mary-Anne, the Program Manager of The New Mentality! I have been involved in The New Mentality since 2011, starting as a group member then co-chair of the provincial Youth Action Committee. Joining the New Mentality was a life-changing experience for me. I always thought my mental illness would create barriers in my life but The New Mentality allowed me the space to learn, grow, and find out what I am capable of. And I’ve made lifelong friends who truly accept me for who I am. In my free time, I love exploring Toronto where I work and live and travelling to new places. 


Disable the Label 2020

Disable the Label is going digital this year!

Unfortunately, we had to make some tough decisions for Disable the Label 2020, we have decided to not move forward with an in-person DTL at Geneva Park. However, when Cathy Dyer, the founder of The New Mentality moved on in 2014 she said, no matter what happens DTL must always happen, it is the heart of The New Mentality and where we connect, learn and nourish ourselves as mental health advocates.With that being said we will be hosting a digital DTL exclusive to the New Mentality network, and will launch during Children’s Mental Health Week! 

We are quickly working with our hosting team to develop a fun, engaging, thought-provoking and very special Disable the Label 2020 Program. 

Disable the Label 2020 will be an 8-week leadership course that will support youth to develop both personally and professionally as mental health advocates. Using Zoom, we will host 3-4 sessions per week, each session will last between an hour and an hour in a half, launching during Children’s Mental Health Week in May (1st week) concluding on June 26. Youth who attend 70% of sessions will receive a leadership certificate from Children’s Mental Health Ontario. 

Disable the Label 2020 is all about staying connected as a network and building resiliency during uncertain times. Together, we will have a weekly touch point to connect with each other and share how we are really doing. We will learn skills that will help us in our advocacy work, in our personal lives, and transferable skills that we can apply to professional lives. Session topics will include learning about healthy relationships, creating and maintain healthy boundaries, and conflict resolution. We will host training sessions on how to share your story, how to use social media to advocate as well as building your own personal professional brand. We will host interactive World Cafe’s where youth and adult allies can share their thoughts, opinions, and ideas on what is happening in their local communities related to mental health. And of course, we’ll host our first-ever virtual Talent Not Required Show and Group Shares! 

See you all on Zoom!

To register talk to your adult ally for the registration link. If you are an alumni from our network and would like to be apart of DTL 2020 or if anyone has any questions please email Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator of The New Mentality at fizza@thenewmentality.ca

 


Practicing Self-Care During Self-Isolation

Hi everyone, Fizza here! I hope you all are at home and staying healthy. It’s been an extremely challenging time for all of us around the world. Now more than ever, we all need to focus on taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally.

With an emphasis now being to stay home and practice physical distancing, I wanted to share how I’ve been practising self-care during this time.

Self Care Tip #1: Virtual Hangouts

I’ve been taking this time to connect with friends and family through platforms like Zoom and FaceTime, which have helped to keep our relationship strong while also allowing us to alleviate some of the loneliness that comes with being isolated at home. From dinner dates to working out, to having a paint party! 

Self Care Tip #2: Switch Up Your Scenery

I try to get out once a day and walk around the lake behind my house. It has really helped to clear my thoughts, allowed me to get some fresh air and stay active. Switching up my scenery, and leaving my home has kept my energy and mood up! Always remember to keep a distance of two metres from others while physical distancing. 

Please keep up to date with Canada’s Public Health information. Here is the latest on Physical distancing: Actions for reducing the spread of COVID-19. 

Self Care Tip #3: Dance Parties

Disclaimer: I am by no means a dancer!

My brother and I love to have random dance parties, I’ll take a few minutes every couple hours to blast some music and dance. Before COVID-19, I used to take dance classes every Sunday, but now that I’m unable to do so, I still try to maintain a routine by taking online Bollywood dance classes. It’s been fun to dance and learn from the comfort of my room, and know that no one is watching. 

Self Care Tip #4: Giving Back 

I’ve been using this time to see how I can give back to my community. Now more than ever we have to come together and support those around us. There are many vulnerable populations, who need our support. I’ve been volunteering to deliver food safely to those in need, as well as acting as a Crisis Responder for distress centres. Using my strengths to help others has been very rewarding.

Self Care Tip #5: Practicing Self-Acceptance

Acknowledge how you’re feeling. During this time, many people are jumping on the opportunity to get productive and creative, though I think that’s absolutely amazing I think it is important to remember that it is okay to take a break. It is okay to do nothing and just relax for a bit. We are going through something we’ve never experienced before, and it can be incredibly challenging and exhausting. Don’t be too hard on yourselves. Taking things slowly, and one day at a time is important.

Continue to embrace yourselves, and stay healthy! #ApartButTogether

Hi, Mary-Anne here! Self-care has always been an important way for me to support my mental wellness, here’s what I’ve been doing to self-care while self-isolating

Self Care Tip #6 Journaling

I’ve been using this time to write in my journal. I like to get a cup of Earl Grey tea, sit on my couch and write. I’ve been using the TNM journal prompts on Instagram when I’m feeling stuck or am unsure of what I want to write each day. I’ve also taken some time to read old journals to see where I’ve been, reflect on where I am now and where I hope to be in the future. 

Self Care Tip #7 Baths 

My favourite activity to relax is to have a nice hot bath with lavender Epsom salt with candles. I like to listen to a podcast during my bath. Lately, I’ve been inspired by listening to other women and hearing their journeys as they navigate their lives.

Self Care Tip #8 Instagram Exercise Classes 

This is not my favourite form of self-care but I know it’s important! I’m trying to do an exercise class every day. I’ve been trying out pilates and barre classes which I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve found a studio in Burlington that is offering free classes on Instagram called studiotechnique. I like doing their live classes because it keeps me accountable during the workout! 

Self Care Tip #9 Boundaries are still important

A key part of my journey to mental wellness was creating boundaries. Self-isolation is no different. I love to be able to Facetime with family and friends frequently but sometimes I need to create boundaries in order to protect my mental health. Sometimes that looks like an afternoon or evening off entirely of social media and video calls and other days I might just need a break from a particular relationship. It’s ok, I show myself compassion by allowing myself to keep my boundaries.  

I hope you enjoyed Fizza and I’s self-care strategies and are taking some time to take care of yourself and your mental health 🙂  


My Visit to Our Youth 4 Youth New Mentality Group in Burlington!

On Monday I got to visit our amazing youth in Burlington, who are with our partner agency Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services! Getting to see our different groups, and the incredible work they’re doing in their communities has always been the most rewarding and exciting part of the work I get to do.
 
Every group is different and brings their own unique twist to advocacy. Visiting the young trailblazers apart of the youth 4 youth New Mentality group in Burlington was an absolute blast! We started off the meeting getting to know one another, and I got to share some of the exciting work the New Mentality will be doing this year, along with sharing our network’s favourite summer leadership retreat – Disable the Label, which is only a few months away!
 
The youth shared with me the Coffee House they are planning to have during Children’s Mental Health Week, where they will share the work they do as a New Mentality group in the Halton region. This Coffee House will have youth bands, artwork, and so much more!  
 
The youth also shared with me that they have been working on creating a video that will showcase how to navigate services at Woodview. It can be challenging and a bit daunting trying to navigate the child and youth mental health system, and this video will provide an opportunity for young people to better understand services, and how to access them.
 
After sharing a bit about the work the New Mentality has been up to, as well as hearing the projects the youth are working on, we started painting artwork for the Coffee House! It was a lot of fun, just painting and laughing with one another.
 
It was also an opportunity to hear about what is needed in the system. One youth shared that there needs to be more discussions around anti-oppression both within the system, as well as the New Mentality as a network. The lack of overall diversity and equity in the system, has created a lack of conversation at both a service provider level and at a government level. This was an opportunity for all of us to have an open and honest conversation around some of the big challenges within the child and youth mental health sector.
 
One statement that stood out right from the start was when a young leader in the group shared the impact the group has had on him. He shared that he feels empowered when he helps other youth who may be experiencing the same challenges he is currently facing. The New Mentality group has allowed him to feel a sense of hope about the future.
 
I always leave New Mentality groups feeling incredibly proud, and genuinely excited to see how these young people will help to shape the future of the child and youth mental health system. It is always a privilege getting to meet such amazing and enthusiastic youth across the province. Looking forward to continuing to see the magic these young people will bring to their community! 

Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s Press Conference at Queen’s Park!

Yesterday, Children’s Mental Health Ontario held a press conference at Queen’s Park. This was an opportunity for CMHO and the New Mentality to express to government that Ontarians prioritize reducing wait times in the child and youth mental health system.

CMHO CEO Kim Moran, Mary-Anne Leahy Program Manager of TNM, and Vic Corbett from our Youth Action Committee, call for action gained the attention of media and MPPs. They demanded that government urgently make investments in child and youth mental health.

I was completely moved and taken aback by Kim, Mary-Anne and Vic as they demanded that kids can’t wait. In that moment, it felt as though time had stopped. Listening to all three of them speak, was empowering.

 

We will continue to lose children and youth if we don’t act now. Vic Corbett shared an incredibly personal story about her journey in the child and youth mental health system, and the story of loved ones she has lost due to our current mental health system’s crisis oriented state and very long wait times.
 “Children and youth need help. They shouldn’t have to wait. The system fails to recognize that just because I am coping, doesn’t mean that I am not struggling. If there are additional services to meet what I need, I don’t know how to access them. I’ve been accessing mental health services for nine years and the only services I know how to access require me to be in crisis.” – Vic Corbett

I wish that everyone had the chance to experience this moment in person, as it was not only moving but ignited a new drive in me to continue to demand government to invest in child and youth mental health.

I was incredibly proud of Vic, as she was featured on CP24, CBC Radio and CBC TV all across Ontario. It just goes to show, that every voice matters, and that one voice can truly leave an impact. 

After the press conference we were invited to sit in on Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s Question Period. This was my first time since I was 13 years old, getting to witness what I see on TV from the sidelines. It was a unique experience, getting to see behind the scenes of it all, and some reactions and conversations between MPPs that don’t make it on the news.

One discussion that stood out amongst other conversations during the question period was that of MPP Bhutila Karpoche, who spoke about the crisis oriented services currently provided in child and youth mental health system and the extremely long wait times. 

Unfortunately due to time, MPPs were not able to have a more in depth conversation regarding this matter. However, MPP Bhutila’s bill, the Right to Timely Mental Health and Addictions Care for Children and Youth Act, if passed would cap wait times for children and youth seeking mental health & addiction services at 30 days.

I hope that we are able to get to a place one day where children and youth aren’t waiting up to 800 to 900 days just to access services in Ontario. A dream that I hope soon will turn into a reality. I hope the government of Ontario will listen to us, and join us in our mission to creating a mental health system that is one of quality.

Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator
fizza@thenewmentality.ca


My Visit to The New Mentality Thunder Bay!

Last and final stop of my mini New Mentality tour, our New Mentality group at Children’s Centre in Thunder Bay!

It has been an exciting last few days, getting to meet many of the wonderful youth from across our network, and what better way to end it off than with our youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Started off my day bright and early arriving at the airport at 6:30am, and it was exactly how you would imagine one would feel… tired! However, I really enjoy flying and the airport because of all the different people you meet along the way, and new places you get to visit.

After a much needed nap and pretzels on the plane, I landed in Thunder Bay! I checked into my room, and shortly after headed to meet our New Mentality group, which was a quick cab ride from the hotel. The location where the New Mentality in Thunder Bay’s meeting takes place is beautifully decorated with indigenous art everywhere.

After exploring the building a bit, I had the chance to meet the two adult allies, youth and program manager of Adolescent Services. What I particularly liked before I even had the chance to meet everyone, is how the adult allies break one of the biggest barriers when it comes to youth engagement – transportation. The youth are picked up and dropped off by their adult allies, making accessibility to meetings much easier! 

The meeting started off with all of us getting to know one another. The youth and adult allies were so energetic, fun and friendly. The overload on chocolates definitely helped keep the room energized!

One thing that was clear from start to finish, was how much the youth loved their adult allies, as they kept advocating to the program manager, for weekly New Mentality meetings instead of biweekly. You could genuinely tell how much they loved being there, and how connected they all were. It just goes to show the impact that great youth engagement and positive adult allies can have on young people.

The youth and adult allies shared what their group has been up to recently, with receiving tokens of appreciation from Bell for their Bell Let’s Talk post, to volunteering in the community, to creating youth friendly artwork for Children’s Centre. These young leaders are always looking for ways to meaningfully contribute to their community!

I want to thank the youth for their vulnerability as they shared the crisis their community faces when accessing child and youth mental health services. Some youth have had to wait 2-3 days in the emergency room before seeing a professional. This is unacceptable and incredibly disheartening. Youth shared that many young people have had to pretend they’re feeling “better” just to escape the emergency room and hospital because waiting for services was making them feel worse. The hospital is the last place a child with a mental health concern wants to be.

I commend these young leaders for their courage, honesty and vulnerability sharing the horrifying stories of the current child and youth mental health system.

Thank you to the youth and adult allies for the warm welcome and laughs of course. We will definitely have our photo shoot in the snow and make some mukbang videos next time I visit!

Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator
fizza@thenewmentality.ca   


Visiting the New Northern Mentality in Sault Ste. Marie!

Onto stop two of my mini New Mentality tour, our New Northern Mentality in Sault Ste. Marie who are with our partner agency Algoma Family Services (AFS)!
 
I started off my day with getting on a small plane headed to Sault Ste. Marie! On the way there I met some very nice people on the plane who offered to share their cab with me, and along the way showed me their city. The hospitality from beginning to end was unmatchable. I felt as if I had known everyone for many years.
 
I finally arrived to the New Northern Mentality’s meeting spot which takes place inside a school. The space was beyond youth friendly, with youth art work everywhere. I absolutely loved it!
 
 
 
 
 
 
I had the chance to first meet and chat with the Director of Services at AFS, Sandie. We discussed a bit about ourselves, and I got to share my vision and hope for the New Mentality this year and in the future.
 
After meeting a few more staff at AFS, I got to meet the two adult allies for the New Northern Mentality group, Jess and Janique! They showed me some of the work their youth have been up to recently, as they’ve done many events for the community such as a carnival, a pasta dinner fundraiser, garage sale, and even an Expresso Cafe which is a wellness night geared towards expressing yourself through art.  
 
I then had the chance to meet the passionate youth who are apart of the group. We jumped right into a deep conversation, as these young leaders began sharing with me the current crisis their community faces when it comes to access to services, especially being a northern community. I watched and listened to how eloquently they shared their concerns, and dreams of what they hope the province of Ontario can do to help Children’s Mental Health.
 
One youth in particular shared with me the lack of culturally appropriate services available in their community, the unbearably long wait lists for services, and feeling as if they don’t have a voice. They also shared that mental illness is extremely stigmatized in their community, and has made it difficult at times to outreach and recruit young people to join the group.
 
I watched these young people share their stories with me and with one another, and I can’t describe the feeling, but the room was filled with love and support. I was amazed and awe-struck by the compassion that these youth who hadn’t known each other very long, had for one another.
 
 
 
 
After some deep heartfelt conversations, we had some snacks, laughed a lot and just had a great time getting to know one another.
 
It had been a long day of travelling, but oddly enough I didn’t feel tired. I left feeling empowered and hopeful that these young leaders will create some major changes in their community.
 
Thank you to the adult allies and youth for their hospitality, vulnerability, and kindness! Sault Ste. Marie feels like a home away from home, and I hope to be back soon.
 
Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator

Visiting Our New Mentality Halton Group!

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