They took time to understand how I felt and what I needed. They respected me and were very nice.

NexTalks 2016: Youth share stories of hope & resilience

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On March 9th, approximately 40 Nexus youth, staff and supporters gathered at the Nexus Youth Centre for NexTalks, a youth speakers' forum aimed to end the stigma of mental health. Over the course of the evening 5 youth shared their challenges with mental health, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, suicidal behaviour, unhealthy relationships, bullying, substance abuse and ADHD.

In an uncensored manner, the panel of youth also opened up about their experiences accessing help. One youth described it as a rollercoaster where they took two steps forward just to take one step back in their journey, while another shared that while the first step of accessing help was the hardest, it worth it. All of the speakers encouraged other youth to ask for help if they're struggling, and their messages were all consistently filled with hope.

They spoke about the importance of surrounding themselves with "cheerleaders", gaining new friendships, discovering the "light inside of them" and above all realizing that they "matter". The panel of youth ended the evening by answering questions in a Q&A session, sharing what coping strategies worked for them, what they wanted others to understand about mental health and who inspires them. Eileen MacKenzie, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Mississauga, attended the event and was so impressed by the panel of youth speakers that she secured sponsorship for each of them to be her guests at the Community Foundation of Mississauga's upcoming "All for Community" Speakers' Luncheon.

NexTalks also provided an opportunity to announce that Nexus Youth Services was the recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to support youth access to mental health counselling services through its Youth Centre location. Kristine Wilson from the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund presented Nexus staff with a plaque recognizing the partnership, sharing that Bell Let's Talk is thrilled to support the great work that Nexus does increasing the accessibility of mental health services to young people in Peel. Many thanks to Bell Let's Talk for supporting Nexus, youth and mental health, and thanks to the entire Nexus team who worked with youth to plan this inspiring event.

If you were unable to attend the event, you can read a detailed summary on Storify here. For more information about Nexus events, follow @YouthNexus on Twitter and Like Nexus Youth Services on Facebook.


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