MINDS work alongside youth with lived experience, community members and researchers to understand and help those living with mental health and wellbeing in London-Middlesex. By designing, piloting and testing innovative solutions developed locally, we know we can make a difference in the lives of youth in our community.

Our Interventions

  • ​Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council: ​A youth-led youth council committed to promoting youth-centered practice in the mental health system, and advising and guiding mental health care programs, initiatives and community organizations. The team is currently working on developing a peer guidebook aimed at de-stigmatization of mental ill-health and development of support for individuals with lived experiences or those seeking to provide support.
  • ​Safe Storytelling Toolkit: ​Building on ideas brought forth at the convening, the sub-group has decided to support the ongoing work of CrazyTalk, with an aim to create post-event dialogue built upon deep connection and conversation. The goal of the safe storytelling prototype is to the creation of a Safe Storytelling Toolkit. This toolkit will provide information for not only storytellers, but also for those hearing or reading the stories to do so in a way that is safe.
  • ​Good Life Discussion Group: By gathering a group to discuss what constitutes a ‘good life’, we hope to encourage youth to clarify their own thoughts about what provides their life meaning and purpose, so that they may strive to live their ‘good life’. Members of the first iteration of the Good Life Discussion Group read Daniel Klein’s Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life They Change It: Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live (a short, simple, insightful, and humourous book) met on a bi-weekly basis to discuss their impressions, opinions, and growth/development.
  • ​Youth Centered Practice (YCP): ​Work that focused on the concept of Youth-Centered Practice and how it can be developed into a coherent framework that mental health care service providers and organizations can use to provide youth-centered care. Coding and sensemaking activities have begun from the interview data collected.
  • ​Building Inter-generational Community: ​The CMHA Transitional Housing program and the community of Riverview have a long history. However, youth residents and adults in the community haven’t had many opportunities to interact with each other in intentional ways. This event is aimed at “getting to know the Riverview community and introducing our community to the wonderful work our youth are capable of.”



Get Involved

or email us at mindslondonmiddlesex@gmail.com



Our Team

  • Arlene MacDougall (Director and Principal Investigator): ​Dr. Arlene MacDougall is an accomplished psychiatrist, researcher, educator and academic health care leader. As a visionary global health systems leader, she has led the development of transformative systems initiatives for mental health. She has authored over 30 publications and has been recognized as a global Young Physician Leader by the InterAcademy Partnership.
  • Renee Hunt (MINDS Coordinator): ​Renee is passionate and accomplished researcher whose interests have lived broadly in the realm of overall general health and well-being, with an emphasis on mental health especially as it relates to positive psychological practices and patterns of interpersonal behaviour. She was most recently a Mitacs Elevate Program Postdoctoral Fellow, Western University and graduated with her PhD in Social Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier in 2018.
  • Melissa Taylor-Gates (Innovation & Evaluation Manager): ​Melissa believes foremost in empathy and compassion for those in the world around us. Her work centralizes around power inequality and authentic communication. She strive to foster safe spaces where people can learn from and care for each other in a holistic way. Outside her work, she is a storyteller, archer, tea-lover, feminist, writer, and gamer.
  • Lily Yosieph (Youth Research Assistant): ​Lily is a Youth Research Assistant at MINDS. Prior to joining the MINDS team, she was a founding member of the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council, which began in 2016 under the Transition Age Project. As of 2019, YMHAC has been under the stewardship of MINDS, which led to Lily becoming one of the new co-facilitators with Alec Cook. Lily admires the transdisciplinary approach to solving complex mental health system challenges within the MINDS lab; outside of work, she enjoys catching up on quality time with friends and family.
  • ​Alec Cook (Youth Co-Researcher): ​Alec is a undergraduate student at Western University, completing an honours specialization BSc. in psychology. Alec has been a part of MINDS since 2018, starting as a co-op student in his senior year of high school and now in his role as a youth co-researcher. He is currently leading a research project studying youth-centred practice within the mental health care system, with aims to develop a toolkit for individuals and organizations looking to adopt this approach. In addition to his role as a youth co-researcher, Alec is also one of the two lead facilitators of the London-Middlesex Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council (YMHAC), which works to bring youth voice to mental health initiatives across London-Middlesex.
  • Nathan Leili (Youth Project Lead): ​Nathan is pursuing a dual degree in Politics, Philosophy, Economics, and Business at the University of Western Ontario and the Ivey Business School. He first became involved with MINDS through the Global MINDS program in 2018. In 2020, Nathan launched the good life discussion group with the support of MINDS, and he continues to work to expand the group in the London community. This past summer, Nathan worked for Urban Roots London, a local and organic urban farm. Outside of school Nathan is an avid sports fan.
  • Abe Oudshoorn (Researcher): ​Abe is Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and the Department of Psychiatry at Western University. Abe is passionate about using research for system change to ensure those experiencing health and social challenges are adequately supported and stably housed. The MINDS project is a wonderful opportunity to re-think how we respond to youth mental health in London. Outside of his academic work, Abe enjoys swimming, biking, and running as well is time with the family in the outdoors.
  • Richard Booth (Researcher): ​Richard Booth is an associate professor at the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing (Western University) and a clinician researcher with an active research program exploring health informatics, human-technical relationships, and psychiatric-mental health nursing. Richard enjoys the collaboration and energy brought by MINDS, especially related to the area of how innovation can be used to support mental well-being and health of youth. Along with his teaching and research responsibilities, Richard is an avid angler and will happily find any excuse use his charcoal barbeque in the rain, snow, or sun.
  • Kelly Anderson (Researcher): Kelly Anderson is a Canada Research Chair in Public Mental Health Research, and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Psychiatry. Her research program is focused on risk and protective factors for population mental health and illness, as well as access to mental health care. She is excited about MINDS as an opportunity to move beyond measuring population mental health and into improving it. Kelly is passionate about the colour purple and spends her time reading and building Lego with her kids.


Our Supporters

​A huge thanks to St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation for their generous support. Other support for MINDS has come from AMOSO and Ontario Trillium Foundation.