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CSC Online Design Lab, Summer 2021
Design Labs were created by the mindyourmind team, supported by the Canada Service Corps Initiative. They are sessions where the participants receive support and resources to co-create mental health projects to fill the needs they have identified in their communities. In the midst of the current pandemic, we feel privileged that we were able to switch to an online space and that we continued to feel the passion of our participants! We could not have been more pleased with the experience and outcomes! While discussing the mental health needs in our communities, we came up with different ideas for projects and we organically broke down into three teams, with each team leading a project. Our three projects are: a Discord community forum, a podcast, and mental health toolkits!
It was amazing to see that even though some of us did not live in the same province, we were able to meet in this virtual space on Zoom and truly connect with everyone. Our sessions were broken down into two main types of activities: the activities we did as a group with all of the participants, and the project planning for which we were in breakout rooms. Despite meeting in this virtual space as strangers and having to deal with the current state of the world and our own lives, it didn’t take long to create a warm and fun vibe with everyone! Our participants were welcoming, motivated and compassionate. The teams were very supportive, helped each other straight off the bat and were each other's biggest supporters - which made the whole Design Lab group feeling even more empowered, valued and feeling like their project will truly make a difference.
Young people continue to fight to have their voices heard and some are in the search to make an impact in their communities. During the pandemic, we have seen an increase in mental health challenges, especially amongst youth. In a time of self-isolation and unpredictable changes, there is a true need for a safe online space where we can connect. More than maintaining a vital sense of belonging to a wonderful community, the Design Labs put in place by mindyourmind are full of amazing resources both for their participants’ own wellbeing and for them to promote mental health conversations amongst their communities.
The mindyourmind staff and eleven awesome youth from across Canada; Abi, Agathe, Anabella, Deana, Leah, Monique, Palak, Sierra, Sophie, Yasmin, and Zara. They were recruited through a call-out on our socials and have created a wonderful, open, welcoming and diverse community we are so proud of!
Summer 2021. We met weekly through July and August.
Virtually across Canada. Even though we met online, we would like to acknowledge that most of us currently live on unceded Indigenous lands. If you would like to learn more about the lands you live on, we highly recommend the interactive map and the other amazing resources from Native Land.
This group decided on three questions:
- What was your favourite part of this design lab?
- What is next for your project?
- How would you describe your perfect day?
Here's their answers...
1. My favourite part of this design lab was meeting wonderful people and getting to be part of a supportive, welcoming and strong community. Also, being able to work in teams on a concrete tool to help conversations about mental health is very important to me. The multitude of resources at Mind Your Mind really helped make our project a reality – I am so proud of our project and our team!
2. We are organizing mental health survival tool kits. The next step is really to hope they are helpful and bring comfort and a positive energy to the people receiving them:)
3. My perfect day would probably start off with a warm cup of black tea and talking to my many plants. I would include some crocheting, knitting or sewing projects. By the end of the day, we would play boardgames while eating home-made pizzas. And I would end the day by going to bed early.
1. Meeting people from different cities that share similar ideas to mine and know the importance of mental health
2. Filling the grants application and after that hopefully start working with suppliers and designers
3. degree sitting on the beach with puppies and eating a charcuterie board :)
1. Meeting and making new friends from across Canada. Hopeful we can stay connected and work on common goals beyond our project!
2. Each group member working towards their tasks associated with their role.
3. Trying food and restaurants while travelling
1. Interacting with Canadians across the country on our quest to advocate for mental health and the joy in taking action to do something.
2. I hope to continue my mental health endeavours beyond the project and to ensure that many more youth receive access to quality mental health services and care.
3. As a medical student, my perfect day would have to be at the clinic/hospital when I learn something or see something I haven't before and I'm left with amazement of the human body in all its forms but also of the great responsibility I have as a physician-in-training.
1. My favorite parts were the general conversation of mental health and how different communities deal/cope with sensitive topics, how to do grant writing, and working in a group with new people and developing our project based on everyone's opinions/ideas.
2. The next steps would be putting my group's plan into action and getting our Discord server ready for members to join.
3. A perfect day for me would be sleeping in, maybe gaming for a bit, and watching some anime.
1. The community feel
2. Continue with the idea that started during our sessions
3. A day that is productive in all senses - work wise, relaxation wise, physical activity wise, and relationship wise
1. My favourite part of the design lab was that we were all encouraged to choose projects that we were all passionate about. The design labs focus on creating projects that we care and are passionate about - and I love that MindYourMind is so supportive!
2. Episodes!!! We can't wait to start getting some episodes of our mental health podcast out!
3. Waking up early, getting breakfast from Black Walnut Cafe in London, and then heading to the beach!
1. Meeting other young people.
2. A mental health/post partum depression project for young refugee and migrant single moms.
3. Lots of music, laugher, food