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Get Real NationWide - Summer - Fall 2008

Excerpt from the media release...
"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 health promotion campaign designed to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues".

What is Get Real?

Get Real NationWide is a new initiative by It brings together enthusiastic young people from across Canada in a creative experience to effect change in their communities.

All the young people in the groundbreaking initiative have a stated desire to make a difference in their communities. This project provides participants hands on experience and training, marketing, graphic software fundamentals, an increased awareness of mental health and the opportunity to work in a group setting online to develop mental health promotion materials.

Also check out these PSAs from Much Music, Devon Soltendieck hosts a look into mental health issues in this series of Much Talks. mindyourmind worked with the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Much Music to develop these PSA’s which were inspired by the posters.

Much Talks - Be Someone Intro, Much Talks - Be Someone and Much Talks - Busting the Stigma

What did this team create?

Shelter from the Storm Poster

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.

Ode to Trainspotting Poster

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.

I Will Listen” Bilingual Poster and Card

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.

“Anatomy of a Panic Attack” Interactive and Card

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 interactive will provide reassurance to those going through the worst of symptoms. A card was also designed with the information in a convenient pocket size.


Alex, 18

I guess I'm like alot of other young adults, I'm concerned with furthering myself and crossing as many paths as I can, but most times I find it easier to hang out on a couch or a porch. I like music, all forms of music. Hip-hop mostly, but not the ish you hear on your television or radio. I enjoy long walks on the sidewalk, or the street depending on traffic flow.

I probably wear my pants to low, and my hat on to sharp of an angle. I enjoy writing, poetry, songs, garbage, call it what you may. Drawing is another past time, and I've developed a growing interest in photography over the last few years. Regretfully I haven't finished my highschool education.

To deal with stress, I smoke cigarettes, draw, or write, generally I find these the most helpful.One of my goals for this project is to wake people up, people with mental illnesses aren't regarded by the professional or scientific communities as they were in the past, but the general population still finds it hard to deal with, we need to shake that way of thinking.
I took too long to write this.

Capp, 24

Enjoys screenprinting, riding bikes, and swimming. She is involved in various community projects including anti-poverty organizing and advocacy, book exchange and writing programs with women in prison, the local zine library, and a collective screenprinting studio. She lives in Halifax and will make you a mean grilled cheese sandwich in a tiny one booth diner in her house. Stress is battled by floating in the lake, keeping busy, and offering and receiving support from her community. A goal of working with this project is to promote a sense of mutual support for folks with mental illness and break down the barriers that keep us silent. When we reach out for support it is not because we are weak, but because together we make each other stronger.

Meagan, 22

Just finishing her bachelor degree in music and psychology, Meagan is excited to publish her first research paper on undergraduates’ perceptions to schizophrenia in this upcoming year.  Currently, Meagan is working at the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, Lethbridge and Area Chapter as a promotions, awareness and program coordinator and also as a research assistant at the University of Lethbridge. She hopes to do her masters in counselling psychology starting next year and continue to do research in the area of stigma.

Music has always been an important part of Meagan’s life. She has taken voice and piano lessons for approximately fourteen years as well as several classes in music history and theory. It is because of this that she has an appreciation for a wide range of music (from classical to punk). Meagan finds that the best way to deal with stress is to sit in a nice warm bubble bath and listen to music. For this project, Meagan would like to raise awareness about mental illness (especially schizophrenia) and dispel myths that people may have in regards to these illnesses.

Erin, 15

To start off, my name is Erin, and I'm 15 years old. I love to spend time, walking, drawing, painting, or just reading a good book. I love to meet new people, it's always fun to learn about someone else. I also like animals, I currently have 6 cats, and 1 foster cat. I foster cats for the Cat Action Team on PEI. When I'm feeling stressed out about things such as school, I listen to calming music, write it down, or simply pet my cats. They are always hanging about my feet. I like just about any type of music, I'll listen to anything that has lyrics that I can relate too. I don't really have a favorite band, because it's too hard to choose from. I don't have a favorite movie either, but if I had to choose it'd have to be 12 and Holding, because it's about the hard choices a child has to make when their parents won't help. They also band together when they all feel alone.

I haven't done much traveling in my life so far, I've only been as far as Quebec, though I love to travel. My favorite place in the world would have to be just sitting in my backyard playing with my cats or reading. I'm really interested in vampires, and other creatures of the sort. I have read Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire, and I'm now currently reading The Vampire Lestat, out of all the vampire books I've read, the one's Anne Rice writes are my favorite. I love her descriptive writing because I get a better picture in my mind of how it all looks. Also for what I want to see for a goal in this project is mostly teens helping other teens with their problems, the awareness of the problems and more ideas like that. I'm very excited to be a part of this project, and can't wait for it to start.

Todd, 21

My name is Todd. I consider my self a habitual student. I love it. I am two years into a Bachelors Degree of Psychology. When I grow up I want work in either therapy or research in the area of mental illness. I am a big reader; I think this is one of my best resources to tackle stress.. I like reading about psychology/neuroscience, history, philosophy/community culture, and fiction.

A quote that I would say I live by, or at least would like to do so, is, “We are men and our lot is to learn and to be hurled into inconceivable new worlds.” To me this means that we, as human beings, should be open to anything; when novel/uncomfortable circumstances are presented we should be receptive and learn as much as we can from the situation. That Is my goal with this program; to learn. Additionally, I  want to make contact with like individuals, share my ideas about, and work in an area that I personally deem very important. This is certainly one of those things.

Erica, 24

My spirit name is Kahnikiyostha, which translates to “she’s taking care of the water”.  My english name is Erica, and I am turtle clan, from the Oneida Nation and a member of the Iroquois Confederacy. I do my best to live according to our original teachings and ceremonies. I love to sing and dance in our traditional way and work to promote equality and understanding around Spiritual Living. I am a strong believer in personal and holistic healing, and have the unique opportunity to work alongside traditional elders, pipe carriers, teachers, singers, dancers and healers from all different walks of life. I have learned to turn to our traditional ways in times of stress or hardship, and the results have changed my life. I believe all original teachings are universal, therefore apply to all people, young old, purple or green J.

I can see this project reaching a higher volume of youth. It’s exciting to think of the prospects in a national campaign. We have the opportunity to show the nation just how vitality important our youth’s wellbeing is to this country, and our future. True success will show itself in the days to come.

Iris, 20

Iris - I’m a 20 year old female animal loving friendly introvert with a diagnosed mental health problem, several anxieties, great friends and family, and a wicked sense of humour. I live in Montreal, am trying to learn French, and love intellectual conversations.

I’m currently starting a mental health advocacy group on campus—my original purpose for starting this group was to have a safe space for people to talk about their mental health problems. I believe in the wonderfully cathartic experience of facing ones’ demons in the company of trusted friends.

My goal for this project is to create a space for diagnoses and malaise to exist outside the therapist’s office, because our life experiences in the land of malaise effect our everyday emotions, self-expression, and personalities. I listen to Elliott Smith constantly on repeat.

Sharon, 22

Sharon is an advocate of keeping a child's view of the world. She is into primitivism and plans to build an off-the-grid cabin in the mountains and start having babies soon! But for now she is a volunteer teaching assistant at a one room schoolhouse with 10 students in a fly-in community in the NWT.

When she's feeling overwhelmed by the world, she puts on a twirly skirt and a pair of boots, and walks somewhere wild and real. Picking flowers and beach pebbles changes her mood drastically.

She loves reading anything by Kurt Vonnegut, listening to Neutral Milk Hotel, watching Amelie and Harold & Maude, and eating raspberry pie.

Her favourite place to be is paddling along a smooth lake with her husband.

She hopes to help change the national view of mental illness in a positive way through 'Get Real'. She believes that in many ways it is society on a whole that is ill, not the individual.

"Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie - but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia." - Kurt Vonnegut

Jeanie, 15

I’m Jeanie and if I had to define myself in just five words, they would be… spontaneous, crazy, dare-devil, opinionated, perfectionist. My personal mantra is to live each day to its fullest, try everything and anything once and to never care about what anybody else thinks about you. My music shapes my life and my favourite two bands ever are Protest the Hero and The Blood Brothers. Even though those two are metal/hardcore rock, I also listen to pretty much everything like jazz music by Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.

Favourite Book: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Favourite Movie: Hot Fuzz!

A good day for me involves tinkering around with my bass guitar, reading a good book, debating over philosophical issues, biking around town and hanging out with my good friends. I tend to be pretty busy around school so I’m pretty decent at handling stress. When I need to de-stress I would turn on my favourite music, close my eyes and listen to it. Or I go crazy in my room and rock out to it. My goal for this project is to create a campaign so everybody will know about mental health. By the end of this project, I want to go up to someone on the street and ask them if they know about mental diseases and they would know what it is and where to get help.

Morgan, 16

Who is Morgan? He's a 16 year old, grade 11 student in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He's a pretty musically inclined individual who can play many instruments, including drums, piano, and guitar, and he's taken music theory for a LONG time.

What makes him so special and unique? Well, he's attempting to start a career in music production, and so far it's going pretty good. In the past couple months, he has been tutored by people from around the world, including Portugal, Sweden, Holland and the U.S.A., and after only 7 months of using FLStudio, he's gotten fairly decent. 

How do I deal with stress? I pretty much just take a break from whatever is stressing me out, and I go chill for a while, whether by reading, making music, or just sort of sitting there.

I'd like to acquire some new skills, and get connected with youth around Canada. Most importantly though, I'd like to see the stigma surrounding mental illnesses get significantly reduced.