We Don’t Need to be Safe, We Need to be Resilient

Students, teachers, system leaders and business leaders share ideas, learn to be resilient, 
and begin to turn the tide of a growing epidemic.

TORONTO, April 29th, 2019 – On Tuesday, April 30th in preparation for Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12), hundreds of youth, teachers, and mental health system stakeholders meet at the third annual State Of Mind Mental Health and Innovation Festival, to celebrate the work of high school students through multimedia, tech, and the arts.

“The purpose of the State Of Mind Festival is to create an internationally recognized centre of excellence, joining a variety of stakeholders interested in and committed to improving workplace mental health, youth mental health education, and mental health care system,” said Mike Stroh, State Of Mind Festival Founder and Director. “Today’s focus is on youth mental health education. School teachers are recognizing the importance of empowering students to find value in self-expression, and together with students we are creating a platform for engagement in a system where these opportunities otherwise wouldn’t exist.”

This year, the Festival has teamed up with leaders of Amazon Toronto, who share the goal of raising awareness around mental health issues, promoting mental wellness at Amazon and beyond. “As soon as we started talking, amazing things happened. This is the exact point of reducing the stigma and opening the conversation. Last week, one of our local Amazon managers introduced us to an interesting organization called “Starts With Me” who hold an annual Festival called “State Of Mind,” it looked pretty cool to us, and our HR team and others will be volunteering,” said Keri Topping, Toronto Site Lead/Sr HR Manager, Amazon.

The content on display at the State of Mind Festival is part of the students’ school curriculum. Lesson plans are integrated into regular class work and require students to develop creative expressions of what mental health is and what it looks like in people’s lives. Their final work is then exhibited and celebrated by an audience of peers at the Festival.

The State of Mind Festival is part of the programming offered through Starts With Me. “We aspire to create a workplace and school environment that encourages people to be honest, responsible and competent while supporting their innate capacity for wellbeing,” said Mike Stroh, State of Mind Festival Founder and Director.

Since launching in 2015, Starts With Me has engaged with more than 50,000 people in k-12 education, post-secondary institutions, and the workplace across the GTA through mental health speakers, workshops, training and presentations.

Agencies attending and supporting partners include Amazon Toronto, the Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto, What’s Up Walk-inFitIn, Patient Commando, CreateBeing, and Layup Youth Basketball. For more details: State Of Mind Festival

Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Recovery, Wellbeing & Leadership

On this episode of the podcast, Jesse Bigelow talks about his experience growing up and how a relatively ‘normal’ upbringing could never have prepared him for the onslaught of mental illness and the development of schizophrenia. He describes the onset of his symptoms and how he went about getting help and how much he learned through the process of recovery.

State Of Mind Mental Health Podcast Episode#1

On the podcast, we are going to interview a range of guests from inspiring individuals who’ve been through tremendous struggles, as well as doctors, therapists, advocates, teachers, professors, lawyers, police officers, and other stakeholders who are passionate about mental health and wellbeing. We are going to get to the Stories Underneath the Slogans. No virtue signaling, no finger pointing, just real honest dialogue around the heart of the issues.