Going Beyond the WE Foundation to Talk about Students and Mental Health

News Release

For Immediate Release

July 26, 2020


Going Beyond the WE Foundation to Talk about Students and Mental Health


HAMILTON, Ont. – While you are talking about WE, we are talking about US.

Who are we? We are hundreds of postsecondary students who have registered for the federal grant, Canada Student Service Grant, and with Youth Mental Health Canada, to contribute to mental health education, support, advocacy and change and receive payment that will go towards our tuition, books and living expenses for the next school year.

Youth Mental Health Canada is focused on youth, family and educator engagement for mental health education, support, advocacy and change. YMHC is not publicly funded and has no paid staff.

Due to all the obstacles YMHC has experienced in contributing to change, we have created a sustainable, educational model. The federal grant is a very important support for us and is allowing us to better meet the needs of children, youth, families, educators and community members.

We cannot deny the reality: young people have been seriously impacted by COVID19. The future looks bleak for students as they prepare to continue with online learning for their next school year. First year students are going to lose out an important part of their transition to postsecondary life:  orientation week, new friendships made with students in residence and people in their educational institution from across Canada and around the world and the chance to make meaningful and long lasting memories.

In addition, many students have lost their summer jobs and the important contribution they could make towards their education and future. The federal grant could make a big difference to many of them. The federal grant would make a difference for YMHC as well. And now, we wait.

The government and media organizations have forgotten that the discussion about the WE foundation is about students’ lives and mental wellness and about the support to nonprofit organizations.


What is YMHC doing to support students during COVID19?

Youth Mental Health Canada (YMHC) is taking action to support the mental health and wellness of youth affected by the global COVID 19 pandemic and societal measures to reduce community spread. The global outbreak and spread of the coronavirus resulted in high rates of anxiety, multiple losses, heightened levels of stress and strong emotions. Fear and anxiety about the uncertainty of our world affects all youth, especially youth with existing mental health conditions. Most of the student volunteers with YMHC have lived experience of mental health challenges and suicide loss, attempts and thoughts.

  1. Youth Mental Health Canada has created two free online peer support services, the Compassionate Card Service and the Daily Message of Support, for people who are struggling with their mental health. People request a personalized message of support and a peer support volunteer from across Canada will send a message to them. Here is the link: https://edu.ymhc.ngo/compassionate-card-service/
  2. YMHC has the largest and most engaged online mental health platforms in Canada with a reach of millions and supporters from every country in the world, including 20% Indigenous. Our social media platforms, including 120k on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/YMHECanada/ provide daily information, resources, messages of support and reassurance and a sense of community and connection through this difficult time.
  3. Student volunteers have been very busy this summer providing free workshops, Insta Live Chats in English, Spanish, French, ASL and Punjabi, preparing a Podcast called YMHC Voices, developing multilingual infographics and much more!
  4. YMHC has also developed four mental wellness workbooks, appropriate for all ages and backgrounds. The books include evidence, strength and hope-based, hands-on activities around problem-solving, self-awareness, stress management and coping skills development and maintenance. They incorporate international best practices in mental health including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). https://edu.ymhc.ngo/resources-and-tools/
  1. YMHC has a new COVID mental wellness journal workbook, In This Together: My Life During a Global Pandemic that is available for pre-order now. https://edu.ymhc.ngo/product/in-this-together/

The workbook has been reviewed by internationally known and respected mental health and suicide prevention experts. Here are their comments:

“The mental wellness series from YMHC is something every young person should have. Like a daily fitness routine, the workbooks provide practices and action steps that can help build the mental muscle of resilience for when hard times hit. They help youth focus on building a life worth living while also putting a personal safety plan in place for when they are challenged by what life throws their way. The tools and resources embodied in these workbooks are best practices in helping youth build the emotional intelligence they will need to survive and thrive now and in the future.”

Dr. John Ackerman, suicide prevention co-ordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, also reviewed the four books and wrote:

“As rates of anxiety, depression and suicide among our youth increase, we need creative and approachable solutions. The resources developed by YMHC will allow countless young people and their families to learn strategies that enhance overall wellness and make it easier for educators to tackle tough but increasingly essential topics.”

Keewaytinook Internet High School, (KiHS), a First Nations northern Ontario school district serving 13 First Nations communities where there have been youth suicides, has purchased 520 books to support their students. Boswell states that “the resources provide strategies for responding to mental health challenges with awareness, understanding, caring and compassion. Once people have access to information and resources on mental health and develop strategies and skills for wellness, hope becomes real.”

This pandemic is reminding us how important it is to stay connected and find ways to get support. Now more than ever, we are being asked to take better care of each other. We are in this together and the difference will be in how we support the mental health and wellness of youth. Finding ways to cope with these changes will make youth, families, and communities much stronger and more resilient.

We encourage all political parties to come together to focus on US: students and non-profit organizations focused on youth mental health.


Youth Mental Health Canada (YMHC/YMHC Charitable Foundation) is a grass roots, community-based, youth-led non-profit organization focused on youth, family and educator engagement to provide culturally sensitive, trauma-informed, needs-based tools and resources for mental health and wellness promotion, education and support.  For more information, go to www.ymhc.ngo.


More Information

Sheryl Boswell

Executive Director, YMHC


Phone: (647)952-9642