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Online Youth Mental Health Promotion Campaign, first of its kind!

January 31, 2009 - Online Youth Mental Health Promotion Campaign is the first of its kind! We are eleven Canadian youth from across the country, who have never met face to face but have come together online to complete a ground breaking national mental health promotion campaign designed to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues.

We are from Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. We are a diverse group of young people with a simple but daring common goal; to create materials that will encourage youth to help themselves and each other during tough times. We came together over the course of 20 weeks using a combination of web-conferencing software and social networking tools with staff from, a national non-profit mental health website.

The Get Real NationWide initiative seeks to provide information, advocacy, and encouragement to youth with mental health issues. The promotional materials that we created are designed to change attitudes towards mental health in our communities and within our networks of family and friends.

We created three posters, a variety of e-cards and an online flash interactive piece to help spread the message and inspire young people to reach out, get help and give help to others.

Poster 1: “Shelter from the Storm” The motivation for this poster was simply that we all knew how much all of the everyday issues of life can weigh you down and eventually lead to much larger problems, like suicide or mental illness. These issues weigh down on everyone, and there is most likely at least one word on the poster that every individual can relate to. The support and shelter offered by friendship help make problems more bearable. The poster calls out for youth to support friends who are experiencing problems in any way they can, because support truly makes a difference.

Poster 2: “Ode to Trainspotting” This poster takes its inspiration from an anxiety zine published by a Montreal art collective as well as the movie poster from the popular nineties movie “Trainspotting”. It states various ways that youth can be positive mental health allies to friends experiencing troubled times. The concrete guidance offered by the poster is sure to be useful, and the pop-culture-referencing graphics are eye catching and relevant.

Poster 3: “I Will Listen” This minimalist but visually appealing poster provides youth with a script to use when a friend approaches them for help and a guide on how to improve listening skills. This poster shows several tips on things to say and do, with the call to action to be supportive and “listen”. We hope that allies and friends will benefit from its message.

Interactive: “Anatomy of a Panic Attack” The design, which references DaVinci’s famous drawing of the multi-limbed ‘Vitruvian Man’, is meant to show that panic attacks can create real physical symptoms that are sometimes mistaken for other problems. “Sometimes, panic attacks can feel like heart attacks” says Get Real participant Iris, age 21. “One time I had one and I really felt like there was a real medical problem.” Though panic attacks are scary, we hope that this card will provide reassurance to those going through the worst of symptoms.

Help us spread a message of hope by distributing these posters at your local schools, community centres, dorm rooms or places of worship. We need you to help us make a difference. Contact us to order your posters now! Campaign funded by Sun Life Financial and in part by the Ministry of Colleges, Universities and Training.

Prepared by youth participants of the Get Real NationWide Campaign: Erin (15), Todd (21), Jeanie (15), Meagan (22), Alex (18), Capp (24), Caroline (17), Erica (21), Iris (20), Sharon (22), and Morgan (16).