You’re Invited to our 2022 MINDS Convening!

Melissa Taylor-Gates
November 04, 2022

The MINDS Convening 2022 will be an opportunity to share and celebrate the various interventions that have been successfully developed and our plan for their sustainable use and scale up. We will also be giving a sneak peek of the vision for MINDS 2.0! The convening is an opportunity to connect and get meaningfully involved moving forward. It is open to everyone in our community!

We ask that if you are attending as a member of an organization, that you reach out to invite a young or emerging adult (ages 16-30) as well! Lunch will be provided, as well as an honourarium for any youth and emerging adult who attend. Doors open at 8:30am.

We hope to see you there!

MINDS Convening Invitation


Melissa Taylor-Gates
October 17, 2022

The Road to Mental Health project is such an interesting intervention that’s come so far. When we started on this project, we talked about buying a bus and travelling around the county to help people receive services. Now we’ve partnered with a cab company and have provided support and transportation to dozens of youth who otherwise couldn’t receive services.

Our new version of the Road to Mental Health includes a new partnership with the Indigenous community and Checker Cab, starting in December 2022. 

While version one allowed only travel from rural areas into the city and back for crisis and mental health appointments, this new facet supports Indigenous youth travelling into the city for services AS WELL AS leaving the city to receive culturally appropriate services at Oneida Nation of the Thames, Chippewas of the Thames and Munsee-Delaware Nation.

All Checker drivers are currently being trained in Crisis Intervention and San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety Training to ensure that they are well-equipped to offer support. We hope to be able to provide transportation by December 1st, but stay tuned to our blog for updates!


Free transportation for youth poster


Welcome to the new MINDS Blog!

Lily Yosieph
October 03, 2022

My name is Lily and I am one of the Research Assistants at MINDS. Through this role, I am the EDI evaluator of the various prototypes leading up to MINDS 2.0, working committee member of Youth-Centered Adult Allyship and adult liaison of the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council, also known as YMHAC.

YMHAC began in 2016 under the Transition Age Project (TAP), and its mission was to promote youth-centered practice in youth mental health care through advising and guiding hospital programs, initiatives and community agencies/organizations through authentic leadership, influence and decision making. I along with Alec Cook were the original founding members of YMHAC, and when TAP concluded 3 years later in 2019, MINDS took stewardship we were approached to be the council’s new facilitators, making YMHAC a fully youth-led prototype. With the help of the MINDS lab, YMHAC’s goal is to promote youth voice and participation, and to develop and research system-level change that leads to the development of Meaning and Purpose, Resiliency, and Quality Relationships for transitional-age youth (TAY). In my role as an adult liaison, I work with Alec to organize meeting agendas, provide updates from the MINDS lab and the council to one another regarding current and upcoming projects, encourage our council members to take the lead in making decisions, connect with others in the London-Middlesex community and across Canada who are doing similar advocacy work, and much more.

Over the past year, MINDS wanted to understand the experiences of transition-age youth who are members of a youth council and disseminated a survey centered largely on examining the experiences within the local mental healthcare system, their experiences as a member of YMHAC, and areas for future growth of the council. In addition to this manuscript in progress, Alec and I have been able to accomplish more than we expected with our council members since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: from our own networks and promotional material we were able to find approximately 12 youth who were interested in the mission of YMHAC, organized virtual meetings, had consistent attendance from members who maintained momentum through zoom, invited various guests who were interested in the work of YMHAC, and most importantly, guided our members through the completion of their guidebook project.

The guidebook is meant to provide mental health literacy to youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who want to support their peers experiencing mental health or addictions issues. We as the co-facilitators and members emphasize to readers that it is not a self-help book for youth to diagnose themselves or their peers, but it is a resource to help in starting conversations around these challenges. With the appropriate references, the members wrote the guidebook to be understood and accessible to transition-age youth. It covers topics like basic information about mental health, how to have conversations with friends around mental health and substance use, self-care, coping strategies, and more. Through Ardith Publishing, we hope to have physical and digital copies of the guidebook ready for sale, for free through selective distribution, and for our attendance at the IAYMH Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark! 

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy exploring the new MINDS website!


In Memory of Eugenia Canas

Alec Cook
March 30, 2022

In memoriam of Dr. Eugenia Canas who passed away on June 18th, 2021. 

Eugenia was a thoughtful and considerate soul, beloved by her friends and colleagues. A role model, mentor, and source of strength, she was ever generous with her knowledge and time. Eugenia was that rare person who made everyone comfortable in her presence. She spoke to everyone with the utmost kindness and listened with a genuine interest in what they had to say. 

Eugenia joined MINDS in 2017 as the Director of Research. She was integral to developing MINDS’ values and research framework. As a champion for youth mental well-being, Eugenia worked to ensure that youth are centred in all of our work. As Director of Research, Eugenia played the part of mentor to MINDS’ youth research assistants and co-op students. She fostered a sense of equity and social justice, always encouraging her colleagues to think about how their research practices will affect the world. 

After leaving her role as Director of Research to pursue post-graduate work at Western University, Eugenia continued in her role as a mentor. She was a key collaborator on the youth-centred practice project. YCP youth-lead Alec hopes that YCP will live on as a testament to Eugenia’s tireless fight for youth voice and for youth to be authentically engaged in the issues and societal problems that affect them.  

MINDS wishes to thank Eugenia for her tremendous contributions to the social innovation lab. She will be missed by those who had the pleasure of working with her. 

Eugenia’s colleagues at Western have established a scholarship in her name which will provide funding support for a student in Western University’s Health Information Science Graduate Program. If you would like to make a donation, please visit: