Fixing the Cracks

February 27, 2024
INTERVENTION TYPE

Quality Relationships Resiliency & Self-Efficacy

WHO’S IT FOR?

Youth and their adult allies (parents, teachers, coaches, health professionals, etc) who are hoping to improve their relationship.

PROJECT GOALS

Fixing the Cracks is a toolkit for youth and their adult allies that helps them resolve and move beyond conflicts that might otherwise be pushed under the rug.

In Canada, approximately 30 percent of the population is made up of youth. Among this group, about 10 to 20 percent of young people experience a mental illness. Additionally, about 70 percent of mental health issues begin between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four. TAY experience a lot of stress because of the different transitions they go through to become an adult. This includes becoming more independent, developing a stronger sense of their identity (who they are) and how it is shared by their relationships and goals, and more. 

Fixing the Cracks is a journaling toolkit meant to be used by young and emerging adults, and help them navigate negative experiences and the process of healing. An ally is anyone who has more power than the person or people they’re working with and uses that power to support and end the oppression they face. In the context of this toolkit, an adult ally is anyone who’s older and is working with and for youth.

Adult allies are often:

  • Parents and caregivers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Educators and school staff
  • Coaches or instructors
  • Coworkers or employers
  • Emergency services members
  • Neighbours
  • Family friends
  • Extended family and other relatives

Inside this book, you can expect to find content on:

  • Step One: Acknowledge
  • Step Two: Be Honest
  • Step Three: Explore
  • Step Four: Rebuild
  • Step Five: Continue

How Did This Toolkit Come Together

The concept of Fixing the Cracks/Repairing Damaged Relationships began at the 2019 MINDS Convening. This prototype was one of the three that were selected by the collective to be implemented and funded by MINDS. The project came from shared interest between youth and adult allies that some of the practices being used to support youth didn’t engage them in what they wanted from their care providers.

Over the course of the next two years, members of the prototype’s working committee lived this reality and had to challenge expectations time and time again. Through differences and changes in expectations, the working group created a survey aimed to capture the youth’s and adult’s impressions about what constitutes an ally, as well as what an ideal youth-adult ally relationship would look like. Leading up to the development of the survey, MINDS also worked with TAY and adult allies in the community to create a toolkit providing guidelines and steps on how to create a strong and trusting relationship after trust has been broken and also how to navigate the ebbs and flows while mending that trust. What evolved from years of work was a print-on-demand book that can be used by youth and their allies to reflect on how they engage with each other and how they can do better. In addition to an outline of steps to follow, the book includes journaling prompts and resources to support youth and their allies.

 

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Peer Support Guidebook

February 26, 2024
INTERVENTION TYPE

Quality Relationships

WHO’S IT FOR?

Youth who are 16 and 25 who are helping a friend.

PROJECT GOALS

To provide the tools to youth who are helping their friends through a crisis. 

Across the world, mental illness among young people continues to rise. It is the number one cause of life-years lost to disability in this population group. In Canada, almost 20 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 experience mental and substance-use disorders.

This is the climate that the Peer Support Guidebook was developed in. Members of the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council (YMHAC) saw that, especially in during the pandemic, young and emerging adults were struggling with their own mental health and supporting their friends who were struggling. This need provoked the group to take action, discuss what was helpful to those who were supporting their friends, and teach how to care for yourself in this difficult time. 

Inside this book, you can expect to find content on:

  • Chapter 1: Understanding Mental Health and Mental Illness
  • Chapter 2: Understanding Potentially Harmful Behaviours 
  • Chapter 3: How to Talk to Your Friend 
  • Chapter 4: Taking Care of Yourself 


How Did This Toolkit Come Together

With Covid-19 reducing the ability of the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council to work with many local organizations, YMHAC redirected there efforts into creating a book aimed at supporting youth in supporting their friends. The team worked together over distance for over a year, creating and validating the content to ensure it was practical and effective.

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Youth Centred Practice

June 03, 2022
INTERVENTION TYPE

Quality Relationships

WHO’S IT FOR?

Educators and students who work with young people

PROJECT GOALS

A training program for practitioners to be youth-centred in their approach to support youth engagement and care.

Many different attributes and values are accredited here to the youth-centred practitioner. Still, the most central of them is that the youth-centred practitioner prioritizes the youth before all else. A clinician at a mood and anxiety disorders clinic says their clinic prioritizes helping youth first, which they feel is not the number one priority in our current mental health care system. “And you know, we prioritize helping the patients as opposed to getting people out the door which seems to be the modus operandi of some other institutions whose names will remain anonymous.” (FEMAP, Person A). A complaint also brought by others interviewed was that the one size fits all, uniform treatments that have become standard throughout the mental health care system don’t always help the youth who receive them. 

A CYC student explains that youth-centred care is not uniform. “There is much grey area in the field, and we can’t be in black and white thinking. It’s that puzzle piece or cookie-cutter treatment that’s black and white. We can’t do that for each child because each child is not that cookie cutter shape.” (Fanshawe Student, Person C). Prioritizing the youth means that clinicians have to be flexible.

As what it means to be a youth changes and evolves throughout the different developmental stages’ youth go through and changes through the years, so to should the types of care provided to them. Practitioners who prioritize their youth clients learn to act reflexively to the evolution of the youth experience. “And also, to recognize that it’s an, it’s evolving just like anything else, right, because again, what might be seen as some of the core kinds of, beyond the core principles or, you know, five years from now could be different or somewhat different. Because generations change and pretty soon what might have been built here is going to be like looked back on and in five or ten years is going, well that’s not necessarily is relevant to some of the kinds of needs or changing demographic. So, it’s… staying agile, it’s staying on top of it, it’s staying aware, it’s recognizing that it grows, it changes and that we all have to reflect on that.” (Community Practitioner).

Safe Storytelling Toolkit

June 03, 2022
INTERVENTION TYPE

Meaning & Purpose Resiliency Self-Efficacy

WHO’S IT FOR?

People who want to tell their mental health stories

PROJECT GOALS

A collection of guidelines and recommendations to be used for the creation and sharing of stories focusing on mental wellbeing.

The Safe Storytelling Toolkit is a collection of guidelines and recommendations to be used for the creation and sharing of stories focusing on mental wellbeing. This resource is meant to highlight the power of storytelling and it’s potential to be a tool against stigmatization in society. Through sharing these types of narratives, a stronger sense of understanding and empathy can be nurtured towards those who suffer from mental illness or who struggle with their mental health. The Safe Storytelling Toolkit serves to help bring these concepts to life within a story while being cautious of any potentially negative repercussions they could have.

 

In this toolkit, you’ll find content on:

  • Audience: Decide on a target audience, and consider the implications that will have on what subject matter is appropriate, what the focus should be, and what structure would be most beneficial.
  • Tone: Find the tone of the story, and examine the impact it will have, both on the narrative itself and on the message it conveys.
  • Themes: Choose the thematic significance of the story, and what themes it should portray. Analyze how these ideas may affect others, individually and societally.
  • Research: Ensure any facts or details presented within the story are accurate and true to life. If the story is fictional and not based on personal experience, research on first hand information and explanations from others should form the basis of how these experiences are portrayed.
  • Representation: Look at how mental illness and other stigmatized or marginalized experiences are represented. Ensure that representation is accurate and positive.
  • Guidelines: Review common errors and mistakes made in creating stories focusing on mental health and other sensitive subjects.
  • Peer Review: Gain feedback from others with insight or experience in the topics the story covers. Use their input to outline any changes to be made.
  • Content Warnings: Layout any content within the story that could be potentially harmful or damaging for a person to hear. Pick a strategy for how to warn and prepare an audience for them.
  • Support: Provide resources and support systems for both the storyteller during their writing process and their audience after experiencing the story.

 

 

The Mental Wellness Profile is a tool for users to create a visual representation for their journey with mental health that can be used to share their experiences with others in an easy, enjoyable way. Answers to questions such as “What mental health struggles have you experienced?” and “What is something you do to help your mental health flourish?” would be used to generate a graphic displaying their personalized responses in a customizable format that would allow it to be shown to others.

The MWP allows users to widely share information about their mental health on social media in a less vulnerable, personal way than directly telling their story. In doing so, they would be decreasing social stigma, fighting the shame associated with mental illness and mental health struggles, creating a larger voice for the mental health community, and starting discussions about important mental wellness topics and issues.

 

Make your own profile here

https://mentalwellnessprofile.com/

Version 1


Mental Wellness Profile

Version 2

Queer in the Classroom

June 03, 2022
INTERVENTION TYPE

Quality Relationships Resiliency Self-Efficacy

WHO’S IT FOR?

Educators

PROJECT GOALS

Supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth in education

Queer in the Classroom: Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Youth in Education is an educational resource that serves as a source of information for educators and provides guidance on cultivating supportive environments for LGBTQ students. The curriculum synthesizes a wide array of existing research, pedagogy, and insight into a centralized space to allow a complete understanding of increased mental health risks facing queer students within education. This work will emphasize the importance the learning environment has on the development of gender and sexual minority students’ mental wellbeing and the role teachers and other school staff play in fostering a supportive atmosphere that allows students to thrive.

Queer in the Classroom seeks to address the consistent heteronormativity which alienates and puts at risk queer youth within the classroom. A lack of consideration and support for LGBTQ issues has been shown to correlate with a disproportionately high representation of mental illness within LGBTQ+ students and harm their ability to succeed academically. Providing teachers with theoretical understanding and practical knowledge to take proactive measures regarding LGBTQ+ issues will serve to tackle one of the root causes of mental illness within the queer community, cultivating teachers as leaders in social change through the school system and into society at large.

Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council

June 02, 2022
INTERVENTION TYPE

Meaning & Purpose, Quality Relationships

WHO’S IT FOR?

Youth who are 16 and 25 and the organizations that serve them.

PROJECT GOALS

To assemble and support youth in leadership and active participation, in the implementation of initiatives impacting young people.

The Youth Mental Health & Addictions Council was established in 2016 through London Health Sciences Centre’s Transition Age Project (TAP) in partnership with mindyourmind. The vision for YMHAC is to be an expert resource, leader, active participant and key voice in the collaboration and implementation of initiatives across the system of mental health and addictions impacting young people in the London-Middlesex community.

With the conclusion of the TAP initiative in Spring 2019, the Mental Health INcubator for Disruptive Solutions (MINDS) of London Middlesex offered to undertake backbone support and stewardship for YMHAC to carry on its significant work. MINDS is a groundbreaking, social innovation lab aimed at solving complex community mental health system challenges with a focus on co-creating system and service level changes that might optimize well being for youth and young adults in the London-Middlesex community.

YMHAC’s mission is to promote youth-centred practice in youth mental health care through advising and guiding hospital programs, initiatives and community agencies/organizations through authentic leadership, influence and decision making. YMHAC’s goal to promote youth voice and participation that aligns with the goal of MINDS to develop and research system-level change that leads to the development of Meaning and Purpose, Resiliency, and Quality Relationships for transition-age youth (TAY).

 

If you would like to work with the YMHAC Committee and
improve your own services to support youth, you can contact us here

Road to Mental Health

June 02, 2022
INTERVENTION TYPE

Quality Relationships Resiliency & Self-Efficacy

WHO’S IT FOR?

Youth aged 16-25 living in rural Middlesex County

PROJECT GOALS

Free transportation to mental health support for youth aged 16-25 living in rural Middlesex County access mental health and addiction support.

The Road to Mental Health intervention began at our 2019 Convening when a youth brought forward her concerns with youth’s access to transportation in crisis. As we explored the issues in the region, it became clear that this issue is even more prevalent for county youth, who in many cases had no good options.

Building on this research, MINDS connected with CMHA, who already had some mobile crisis services within London, but were often limited in which youth they could pick up and bring to services. After consultation, in 2021 we partnered with Star Taxi to offer free transportation to youth in Lucan, Parkhill, Strathroy, Exeter and neighbouring communities.

CMHA offered additional training to Star Taxi drivers, and with generous donations from the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation, MINDS was able to cover the costs of these drives (which on average would have cost youth $140). In addition to crisis services, youth are able to book regular transportation to therapy, doctor’s appointments and other key services to support their mental health. 

In 2022, due to the success of this model, MINDS partnered with Checker to expand services specifically to Indigenous youth on and off reserve. Over the summer, MINDS is working with youth and advocates from Chippewas of the Thames, Munsee-Delaware Nation and Oneida Nation of the Thames to support their needs and ensure access to services. This new partnership with Indigenous partners not only allows youth on reserve to access services in the city, but for youth who live within London to attend cultural events on reserve to aid in truth and reconciliation. 

 

How to Access The Road to Mental Health

1. Call or text Reach Out via phone, text or webchat at 519-433-2023 or www.reachout247.ca
2. The Reach Out worker will assess the individual’s situation and connect them with a ride.
3. The taxi will come to the individual’s location, pick them and drive them to the appropriate service.
4. After the appointment is complete, Star Taxi will give the individual a free ride home.