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