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Upper Grand, Let’s talk about YouthTALK

September 18, 2017

GUELPH, Ontario – The Upper Grand District School Board has many programs available to students who are experiencing mental health challenges.

YouthTALK is a program that the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington-Dufferin has offered over the last number of years.

YouthTALK is a program for youth by youth. It is designed to help openly address and educate students about significant issues affecting youth today, including suicide prevention and mental health promotion. With support from the program, youth are encouraged to plan and implement creative projects and activities to raise awareness of these issues at their school. Some projects have included exam stress kits, t-shirt campaigns, positive message murals, guest speakers and presentations, hosting resource booths, and much more.

In addition to all the great initiatives YouthTALK offers in our school system, YouthTALK has a regional team of a core group of members who plan, organize, and facilitate an annual conference with themed workshops, speakers, and activities around these topics. These initiatives are all done in an effort to create a world where students have hope and never feel alone.

Being a part of YouthTALK is all about giving students a voice. It is youth led, which allows students to develop leadership skills and create meaningful connections with their peers and to raise awareness, all while increasing their own coping skills. Students benefit from the opportunity to learn and educate their peers about mental health issues, gain leadership and teamwork skills, and influence their community in a meaningful way. YouthTALK is all about reducing stigma and sending the message that is it all right to ask for help. It is all right to talk about mental health. YouthTALK also builds up students’ resiliency and self-esteem, which allows students to bounce back quicker and stronger from obstacles and challenges they go through in life.

YouthTALK serves any students who are interested in raising awareness and educating themselves and others about suicide prevention. Students are part of the teams, they become strong leaders and are eager to give back to the community, some students may be struggling with their own mental health challenges while taking part in YouthTALK, and others come to the lunch meetings because they want to make new friends and have a sense of belonging to something.

The Upper Grand DSB offers many resources for students who are struggling with mental health challenges. For more information on these resources, please visit the board website.

YouthTALK is one of the many programs supported by United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin. For 75 years, United Way has worked to meet the social needs of the Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin communities. For more information about United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin, please visit their website.

For more information about how you can get involved with YouthTALK, please contact [email protected].

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