Since the fall of 2014, Queen Elizabeth High School students have been fighting the stigma associated with Mental Health. Inspired by their attendance at the HeadStrong national summit in Ottawa, students and staff formed the Mentally Healthy team.
This team of students plans activities during Mental Health week and throughout the school year that educate and inform their classmates on the struggles of mental illness, the number of people it affects – directly and indirectly – and how to work together to remove the stigma attached to individuals living with mental illness.
This year, the Mentally Healthy team has had the opportunity to take their message and teachings to other professionals, schools and peers. The have presented to the IACAPAP (International Association for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions), an international audience of Mental Health experts; the FNMI/rural Headstrong conference which reached many schools with First Nations, Metis, Inuit and rural students, and finally, at the YouthSMART Calgary conference hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Each time the students have an opportunity to reach a new audience to discuss the importance of eliminating Mental Health stigma, they offer hope to the millions of people affected every year.