Changing the Landscape, we need to change how we approach mental health

Presentation First Author: 
Justin Scaini

Up until halfway through my second year of university, I was oblivious to the importance of mental health. It was something I never thought about, something that was never talked about with me, and something that, as far as I was concerned, had no impact on my life. As a result of that, I was ignorant. Stigma came from me. How could this be? How could I be so naïve about something that is so important to us all? There are countless mental health organizations and committees across Canada that are yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs for awareness to be raised and stigma to be shattered, yet something wasnt clicking with me. It wasnt until I spontaneously decided to audition and was cast in a mental health training video that I learned about what mental health was all about and what a mental illness actually is. To this day, I dont know what induced me to audition for that video, but that decision has shaped the past few years of my life as I have worked passionately to change the landscape of mental health in Canada. After reflecting on how I could be so oblivious about something so important to all of us, it hit me. The current methods of raising mental health awareness didnt resonate with me. The messages, the approach and the way it was communicated didnt grab my attention. I realized that if this was the case for me, there must be countless others in my shoes who are completely clueless about how important mental health is to everyones overall wellbeing and quality of life. I needed to change this. I began a mission to fundamentally change how young people think about mental health in Canada. I wanted to find ways to effectively communicate with everyone and get all young people engaged in this topic of mental health. Its the only way we are truly going to shatter the stigma. My team and I dreamt of developing a universal understanding of mental health, and to do this, we needed to dream big. We needed to find a way to collaborate amongst an entire country of young people to create one, loud, unified voice for mental health. The answer - UNLEASH THE NOISE.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
November, 2013
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