The North in Focus (NIF) team provides a week of class visits and after-school programming, as well as a community closing event. To learn more about specific programs, explore the links below.
During class visits, the NIF team facilitates various evidence-based activities used by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. These sessions reinforce that...
- Everybody has a state of mental health
- Mental health exists on a spectrum
- Self-care is part of health-care
- Stigma reduction paves the way for resource access
- There are common mental illnesses and symptoms to recognize
- Local resources are available for those in need
Generally after-school programming kicks off with an hour of sports in the gym, or a walk around the community to take pictures. Snacks and tea are then enjoyed as the NIF team facilitates mental health education activities that snowball as the week goes on. Guest speakers are brought in throughout the week to provide local context. In the past speakers have included:
- Counsellors to discuss local resources
- Social workers to speak about the impacts of intergenerational traumas
- Inuit games athletes to promote sport and cultural practices as self-care
- Community members to share their lived experience with a mental illness
- Local photographers to promote art as a means of self-expression
- Youth to speak about topics such as using social media to spread positivity, or how going off on the land is beneficial to one’s mental health
After dinner, a variety of relaxing activities are led. Participants have the opportunity to try their hand at photography, do crafts, journal, write supportive messages/“warm fuzzies” to each other, reflect on the day, meditate, and more.
At the end of the week, a closing event is held to celebrate the workshop participants and spark conversations about mental health in the community.
As North in Focus grew, so did our need to spread awareness. It was with pride that we found a group of youth from across Canada to join us on our mission to work on mental health. The teams run local chapters (currently in London, Ontario and Montreal, Québec), manage our social media, fundraising campaigns, and help us develop our ideas.
Cheers to our great team!
Derek Leung, Raphael Dury, Caitlin Gilchrist, Cassie Jones, Joe McLeod, Bailey Roe, Matthew Tran, Malu Ostermann, Haleh Zabihi, Becca Cambridge, Aingeshaan Kubendran, Carrie Davis, Kisha Thapar, Fatima Ahmed, and Cassidy Ward.
For more information on our ambassadors, please see Our Story.