Mental Health On and Off Campus

This past block break I was one of the lucky few to be Quest representatives at the second ever annual youth-organized Mental Health Innovation Summit in Canada.

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Last year I had the opportunity of attending the first conference as the only representative of Quest (and one of the few from BC) and so this year was allowed to attend again as a facilitator.

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“Unleash the Noise 2014 is the second annual Student Mental Health Innovation Summit in Canada – entirely student-inspired, student-organized and student-led! Each year, this summit brings together 200 students from universities, colleges and high schools across Canada to develop innovative strategies and create one powerful voice for mental health. By engaging students and focusing on our strengths as young people, we will inspire and empower students to fundamentally change the way we think about our mental health. Students will return to their respective communities equipped with the ideas and tools that they need to create real and substantial change. – See more at: http://www.unleashthenoise.com/about/unleash-noise#sthash.rvYLFNn7.dpuf ”

Last year we spoke a lot about destigmatizing mental health (and illness) and how important it is to involve everyone (since everyone has mental health). Many people shared personal stories of struggles that they’ve overcome. I collected many ideas to bring to Quest and implemented a few of them this year through the Quest Community Wellness Club I created last year.

This year I wanted to go back and learn about more solid plans of initiatives that people create on their campuses across Canada and network with these amazing students.

We focused more on practical applications and how to get the “5 in 5” involved. (1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime –but mental health affects 5 in 5).

It was so beneficial to have other Quest students with me, especially since Quest is so unique it is hard to describe, let alone take ideas of things happening at other schools and find ways to incorporate them here.

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And on the way home we saw members of the women’s Olympic hockey team that won gold medals! (They wouldn’t tell us if they had them on or not). 10001563_10153863556760291_1304594753_n

Here is the closing video for the conference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0wAgmf7tAM&feature=youtu.be

All in all it was an inspiring, exhausting, exciting, dance-filled, mind-boggling block break and I can’t wait to find more ways to incorporate the things I learnt about mental health at Quest!

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