When I first found out about the student summer placement here at mindyourmind.ca I was ecstatic. This is because I knew how great it was from volunteering here and from the things that I have heard from other people. I didn’t get the job at first because the position needed was no longer needed for this particular location. I was devastated because this would have been the absolute perfect job for me. But good news was not too far away because I got it in the end… and I appreciated the opportunity even more.
I was hired through Y.O.U organization and I began my time here after the work training. When I first started working here at mindyourmind.ca I had no idea that I would be leaving this place with a much better understanding of mental health and with a feel of such accomplishment. I loved coming into work everyday because there was always something different and exciting to do. I would write blogs for the website, update the mindyourmind.ca facebook and myspace, attend and assist at mindyourmind.ca presentations, request and do band interviews for the website and be part of the Anti-Stigma campaign.
Working here at mindyourmind.ca was an experience that I will never forget. My jobs in the past have always made me dread going into work, it was such a change for me to actually have a job that made me look forward to coming in to work. My time here at mindyourmind.ca was such an amazing opportunity that I will always look back on. I’ve learned so many things from being here such as becoming more confident to talking to other people, more confident in solving my own problems and being taught of what to do in certain situations with my friends. I’ve also learned to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it no matter what it’s for.
I loved doing the band interviews because it makes me more willing to talk to people and to overcome my fear of meeting new people and being myself. Making worry dolls at the hospital was also an unforgettable experience. I mean, you hear about people in the hospital with mental illness and you know that they exist. But it’s a whole different story when you see it with your own eyes and experience it. Some of the people that we did the worry dolls with were my age, and it was such a wake up call for me to witness these kids and how they lived their lives. Making the worry dolls with them was my favourite because everyone’s doll in the end was so different from each other. The doll that I had made during this activity was a nurse. I chose to do a nurse because at that moment it made me realize that this is what I want to be when I am older. Working here at mindyourmind.ca also helped me discover things that I hadn’t know about myself.
The Reach Out Game was another project that I was involved in. I helped create many of the questions for the game by researching, getting the facts and forming the actual questions. (I often find myself talking about mental health amongst my family and friends with all the facts that I learned from it).
I was also involved with the Anti-Stigma campaign. What I loved about being a part of this was that it’s towards such a great cause as helping other teenagers with their problems and to reduce the stigma around mental health. People are armed and dangerous when they carry the stigma towards mental health, because they simply don’t know any better. Its unfair how people suffer and live restricted lived because people don’t understand certain mental health issues that can be solved. This also prevents other people from trying to get help because of the negative things they hear from others. Once people learn more about mental health and truly understand them, it’s then that the stigma will be reduced. That’s why I think it’s excellent for websites like mindyourmind.ca to exist. It gets people involved, educated, stronger and more willing to reach out for help. My placement here was so great that even when my work placement here is over, I will continue to volunteer here.
I think it’s so great to actually have youth like me work for mindyourmind.ca because it shows how MYM has youth involved and youth input for the website. The people who work here benefit because they learn things from us and we learn from them. Youth input for the site is so important because it makes the website better, knowing what teenagers interests are and what sort of problems or drugs or stigmas are at large. Youth also benefit from being involved by being provided the tools and the knowledge with what to do in scary situations with friends who suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders or any sort of issue. We benefit with the experience of being involved and we benefit from the preparation skills we learned to be mentally armed and aware.
I have become mentally armed and aware, and now I’m prepared to deal with anything that life throws at me and I will help others along the way.
~ Jessica, age 17