WHAT IS A BALANCING OUR MINDS YOUTH SUMMIT?
The Balancing Our Minds summits were free events focused on youth mental health. Each year, five communities across BC were supported to plan and deliver a summit in their area from 2017-2021.
These community youth summits showcased leadership and involvement from youth across the province, including rural and remote communities, and highlighted local initiatives and sustainable, creative approaches to advancing school wellbeing.
The summits aimed to achieve the following goals:
- Increase knowledge about mental health and substance use
- Build awareness of available mental health tools, resources and services
- Increase positive attitudes towards individuals experiencing mental health challenges
- Generate ideas on how to promote mental health and wellness in your school community
Balancing Our Minds Youth Summits were based on the province-wide event Balancing Our Minds held at Rogers Arena from 2013-2016. The event was inspired by the idea that an important first step in changing how mental health is discussed and experienced in our school communities is getting together youth and educators from across the province to engage in thoughtful dialogue, education and idea-sharing on how to better promote mental health and wellness in our school communities.
A very special thanks to the Canucks for Kids Fund for supporting BC Children’s Hospital to implement this initiative through the years!
The MHCC Headstrong Summit Planning Toolkitadd
The MHCC Headstrong Summit Planning toolkit will help you design, coordinate, and implement a regional summit. It provides you with information regarding the roles of the coordinator, speakers, students and community organizations. It is based on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Opening Minds’ anti-stigma research which shows that contact-based education will improve students’ knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviours towards those living with a mental illness or mental health problem.
Sharing Your Story Safelyadd
Sharing your personal story of mental illness or mental health challenges is a difficult and courageous feat. If you or someone close to you is thinking of sharing their story for the first time, congratulations! Stories of personal experience, hope and recovery are often the most impactful aspects of youth summit events and go a long way in changing the stigma that surrounds mental health.
Sharing your personal story is a process that begins long before the day you choose to speak, and in order to feel comfortable with that process we suggest you take a look through the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) Headstrong Sharing Your Story toolkit. You can find guiding questions, exercises and helpful information to guide you through this process. Sharing your personal story is supposed to be a positive experience for you, and going through the preparation process can help make that possible.
Speaker Support Materialsadd
Sharing lived experience with mental illness or mental health challenges is both difficult and courageous, especially when speaking to a group of your peers. It’s also meant to be a positive experience for the individual sharing. To ensure that happens, providing proper speaker support for someone looking to share their lived experience is necessary and important. You want them to feel safe, supported and confident when their moment arrives.
Speaker support isn’t a straightforward process, so for a more detailed and in-depth look at best practices we suggest you refer to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) Headstrong Toolkit for Training Speakers.
School-Based Activities Toolkitadd
School-based activities are simple and impactful initiatives that promote mental health and wellness, raise awareness about the stigma associated with mental health, and engage the students and staff in the school community. School-based activities encompass a wide range of initiatives and ideas, from quick announcements in the morning at your school to mental health awareness weeks or poster contests hosted by the community.
Check out the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) School-Based Activities toolkit for a few ideas you can do at your school!