Over 350 middle school and high school students from across the region packed into the Civic Centre today. The first Northern Balancing Our Minds Youth Summit was held, with the goal of ending the stigma around mental health.
The summit began in Vancouver in 2013, but has become a movement across the province. This year, Prince George was one of the 5 locations hosting the event.
It was free for all participants. Canadian Tire, UNBC and other community organizations donated the $40,000 needed to put on the Summit.
Youth heard from keynote speakers who dealt, and survived from, mental health problems. They also got to participate in thoughtful dialog. Several booths were set up, offering support and resources to those who may be struggling with depression or anxiety.
Trent Seymour suffered a spinal injury when he was younger. He was a keynote speaker at the event. “I want to stress that you’re not alone, and to seek help. Part of my journey was a lot of talking before I got into keynote speaking. It was just a lot of talking to anyone who was around; whether it be a counselor or close friend. I think most of us [keynote speakers] will talk from personal experience…I think it’s important because mental health ultimately effects everybody. It’s not discriminatory.”
“It’s nice to have something up in the North,” says Myles Mattila, the MC, Organizer and a keynote speaker at the Summit. “It truly inspires students by seeing everybody come together for the right reasons, and promoting mental health in a positive way to help end the stigma.”