Minds

​Designing, piloting and testing innovative
solutions developed locally. Making a
difference in the lives of youth.

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Areas of Focus

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Meaning & Purpose

Having a sense of Meaning and Purpose is a fundamental part of being and staying well. When you have goals and feel that what you do matters beyond yourself, it changes the way you feel about the world around you. This is especially important for young adults, who are experiencing stress, unpredictability, marginalization, and more. A sense of meaning and purpose promotes being adaptive and being able to react in the way you want to changes in your life. A connection to something larger than yourself and empowerment to challenge injustices in the world are core to life for youth.

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Quality Relationships

Feeling like you have Quality Relationships in your life also increase chances of being well. These could be professionals or members of your family, but also include friends (both in person and online). They may not even be people you know deeply-- a server at a coffee place you frequent who always chats with you at the counter can be an important aspect of your wellness. There are many kinds of support you can get from people. People who you can talk to about your life and give and recieve advice from are some of the most commonly noted relationships. There are also those who help you and who you help with phsyical tasks. But beyond all this, the core of a quality relationships is being valued. Not every relationship looks the same way, so you get to define what a quality relationship looks like to you.

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Resiliency and Self-Efficacy

The last area we work in is Resiliency and Self-Efficacy. An easy way to think about this is the idea of being healthy, despite the struggles and challenges in your life. Believe it or not, people who have experienced hardship are those who can better weather future pain and struggles. People who are resilient feel like they know who they are, where they belong and can regulate their feelings better. That isn't to say that they still don't struggle, or that you either are or aren't resilient. In general, the goals of resiliency are to see problems (and the world) as understandable, managable and meaningful. Resiliency can be learned and improved over time, until you can see challenges as opportunites for growth.

Our Interventions

Youth Mental Health & Addictions Council

The Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council exists to support other organizations without access to a youth council to engage with youth in a meaningful way on mental health care planning and redesign. They have also created a peer guidebook to support friends of those struggling with their mental health.

Safe Storytelling Toolkit

The Safe Storytelling Toolkit is designed to walk individuals through the process of writing and telling their mental health story in a way that is safe and empowering to them and to their audience. With images, content and probing questions, it challenges the ideas that you need to commodify your story and supports you sharing only what you want to share.

Good Life Discussion Group

The Good Life Discussion Group is for youth to come together to learn and discuss a range of philosophical works in order to explore what the 'good life' looks like. From what makes a good friend to what gives your life meaning, the group meets weekly for 3 months to have open, facilitated conversations on the most important issues of life.

Youth Centered Practice

Youth-Centered Practice is a training program for practitioners to be youth-centred in their approach to support youth engagement and care. It is informed by youth with lived experience.

Safe and Accessible Transportation for Rural Youth

Safe and Accessible Transportation for Rural Youth is a free transportation option for youth living in rural areas round London experiencing mental health crisis. This program provides youth safe and accessible transportation to and from the CMHA Crisis Centre in the city core using taxi drivers trained on mental health crisis intervention and support (estimated at an average value of $140 per use).

Mental Wellness Profile

The Mental Wellness Profile is an interactive online tool that guides the user through questions pertaining to their relationship with their mental health, and uses their answers to create a customized graphic that visually represents their mental wellness journey. This graphic can be shared to social media to help open up discussion and make connections around mental health.

Queer in the Classroom

Queer in the Classroom is an educational resource that serves as a source of insight for educators and provides guidance on cultivating supportive atmosphere for LGBTQ students. Based on not only providing information but also challenging assumptions and biases, this training prepares teachers to be an ally in the school system and build an anti-oppressive classroom.

Youth-Led Allyship: Rebuilding Damaged Relationships

Youth-Led Allyship is a training program building on the experiences of what youth struggling with their mental health actually want from the adult allies in their lives and not what adults may think is needed. It focuses on how to repair relationships between youth and adults that have been damaged.

Indigenous Youth Healing

Through a partnership with Yotuni.org, Indigenous youth leaders learn and apply social innovation tools and processes to address the complex challenge of addictions in their communities.

Youth Mental Health & Addictions Council

The Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council exists to support other organizations without access to a youth council to engage with youth in a meaningful way on mental health care planning and redesign. They have also created a peer guidebook to support friends of those struggling with their mental health.

Safe Storytelling Toolkit

The Safe Storytelling Toolkit is designed to walk individuals through the process of writing and telling their mental health story in a way that is safe and empowering to them and to their audience. With images, content and probing questions, it challenges the ideas that you need to commodify your story and supports your sharing only what you want to share.

Good Life Discussion Group

The Good Life Discussion Group is for youth to come together to learn and discuss a range of philosophical works in order to explore what the 'good life' looks like. From what makes a good friend to what gives your life meaning, the group meets weekly for 3 months to have an open, facilitated conversations on the most important issues of life.

Youth Centered Practice

Youth-Centered Practice is a training program for practitioners to be youth-centred in their approach to support youth engagement and care. It is informed by youth with lived experience.

Safe and Accessible Transportation for Rural Youth

Safe and Accessible Transportation for Rural Youth is a free transportation option for youth living in rural areas around London experiencing mental health crisis, this program provides youth safe and accessible transportation to and from the CMHA Crisis Centre in the city core using taxi drivers trained on mental health crisis intervention and support (estimated at an average value of $140 per use).

Mental Wellness Profile

The Mental Wellness Profile is an interactive online tool that guides the user through questions pertaining to their relationship with their mental health, and uses their answers to create a customized graphic that visually represents their mental wellness journey. This graphic can be shared to social media to help open up discussion and make connections around mental health.

Queer in the Classroom

Queer in the Classroom is an educational resource that serves as a source of insight for educators and provides guidance on cultivating supportive atmosphere for LGBTQ students. Based on not only providing information but also challenging assumptions and biases, this training prepares teachers to be an ally in the school system and build an anti-oppressive classroom.

Youth-Led Allyship: Rebuilding Damaged Relationships

Youth-Led Allyship is a training program building on the experiences of what youth struggling with their mental health actually want from the adult allies in their lives and not what adults may think is needed. It focuses on how to repair relationships between youth and adults that have been damaged.

Indigenous Youth Healing

Through a partnership with Yotuni.org, Indigenous youth leaders learn and apply social innovation tools and processes to address the complex challenge of addictions in their communities.

Our Team

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Arlene Macdougall

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.

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Renee Hunt

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.

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Melissa Taylor-Gates

Melissa believes foremost in empathy and compassion for those in the world around us. Her work centralizes around power inequality and authentic communication. She strives 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.

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Lily Yosieph

​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.

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Alec Cook

​​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.

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Nathan Leili

​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.

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Abe Oudshoorn

​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 as time with the family in the outdoors.

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Richard Booth

​​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.

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Kelly anderson

​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.

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Grace o'Connor

Grace is a grade 12 student at H.B. Beal Secondary School and who originally joined MINDS as a co-op student. Grace is passionate about mental health and will be continuing her education next year at Dalhousie to obtain a BSc in Neuroscience. Grace appreciates the innovative approaches MINDS lab takes towards youth mental health care conversation and interventions. She is currently a youth volunteer for MINDS as well as a member of the HEALYAC. In her free time, Grace enjoys going for hikes with her dog and playing badminton.

Team Image

Arlene Macdougall

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.

Team Image

Renee Hunt

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.

Team Image

Melissa Taylor-Gates

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.

Team Image

Lily Yosieph

​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.

Team Image

Alec Cook

​​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.

Team Image

Nathan Leili

​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.

Team Image

Abe Oudshoorn

​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.

Team Image

Richard Booth

​​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.

Team Image

Kelly anderson

​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.

Team Image

Grace o'Connor

Grace is a grade 12 student at H.B. Beal Secondary School and who originally joined MINDS as a co-op student. Grace is passionate about mental health and will be continuing her education next year at Dalhousie to obtain a BSc in Neuroscience. Grace appreciates the innovative approaches MINDS lab takes towards youth mental health care conversation and interventions. She is currently a youth volunteer for MINDS as well as a member of the HEALYAC. In her free time, Grace enjoys going for hikes with her dog and playing badminton.

Our Core Values