The mindyourmind team travelled to Oakville, Ontario to work with a group of 16 high school students. As part of this Design Lab, we partnered with the Halton Catholic District School Board. Over the course of the three days, youth from different high schools came together to learn about mental health, talk about issues that they were facing as students and create three zines that could help address those issues.
Through many group discussions, it was clear that self care, talking about mental health with parents and caregivers, and the stresses of being a high school student were very important and relevant issues for the youth. We decided that zines would be a great way to really talk about and explore these topics. Instead of going with the traditional zine route, the group decided they wanted to make them more interactive. They added prompts, word searches, QR codes and flowcharts.
The mindyourmind team and a group of 16 amazing youth: Ava, Cole, Elif, Elize, Gisela, Gloria, Hailie, Katelyn, Logan, Lucas, Nabiha, Paco, Serene, Sierra, Talia, and Tiffany.
As a group, we made three zines. The first zine is called ‘Emotions’ and focuses on the core emotions we may feel while providing both resources and coping strategies. The second zine is called ‘Mindfulness’. This zine has interactive activities that focus on self reflection and personal growth. The last zine is called ‘How to Survive when Life Hands You Lemons’. This zine explores how to support your friends and talk about mental health.
As part of the Design Lab, we asked the youth 2 questions.
1. If you could create a new subject to take in school what would it be?
2. How do you hope this resource will help other young people?
1. A course that prepares us for the future (financially, mentally etc).
2. I hope that it can help people identify their emotions and find suitable coping strategies.
1. A course where students work together and focus on problems in their society and that they would create something for that one (or multiple) topics and offer it to their community or where it is needed – similar to what we are doing in mindyourmind but longer and hands on as in collectively communicating with your community to talk about issues.
2. Mostly to see this in others’ shoes and to come together with people they don’t know and help those their age.
1. If I could create a new subject in school it would be a class about self-care. It would teach kids about simple ways to take care of themselves, because the little things are actually really important for your mental health.
2. I hope this resource helps others develop healthy habits and coping methods.
1. I think having an animation and film course would be interesting. I am hoping to go into animation in the future and they’re aren’t any courses that teach you about it before post secondary.
2. I hope that other young people will be able to learn about taking care of themselves and others through our resources. Maybe our resource will teach someone how to cope with their emotions or help a friend who is struggling mental health-wise. Overall, I just hope that someone who reads our resource will be better educated on mental health and come away with something positive.
1. A “Modern Life” class. We would discuss issues we would face outside of school in everyday life (finances, home life, safety) and learn ways to face those situations.
2. I hope that other youth will find something to connect with in our zines, useful information and an outlet for their emotions and personal experiences. I hope it will inspire them to take action for their own mental health and spread the messages we’ve promoted.
1. Teaching students how to have an opinion on real world topics.
2. I hope it makes youth feel connected to their emotions, and how to identify/understand them better.
1. Pottery class.
2. Be creative and make cool things to bring home.
1. Yoga, a gym class to focus on mindfulness and our thought process.
2. I hope this zine will help teens slow down and take the time to reflect on themselves. To give themselves a more positive mindset.
1. If I could create a new subject in secondary school, it would be medical/medication nomenclature. This elective could help prepare young students interested in pursuing a career in medicine.
2. I hope that this resource will help other young people by improving their self image, self confidence and self love.
1. Cultural art and food classes. I would love to make fashion and food from around the world and learn the importance of each dish and fabric. Especially want to make biryani in class 🙂
2. I hope this resource is as uplifting as I found making it, with all the vivid imagery and colours. Moreover, I hope they just find something they can pull away from the zine, such as good wellness tips.
1. I would create a life skills course that teaches students how to file taxes, how to manage their finances, how to budget, how to make important career choices, how to effectively communicate with others and advocate for themselves.
2. I hope that it can assist people in identifying their emotions and learning some helpful tips on how to deal with them. Sometimes even just knowing what you’re up against is useful to begin dealing with it.
1. Given the passion and emotion present in the 1980s, through pop culture with timeless entertainment, the 80s still resonates with us today. That is why, I believe the best era, a golden era, should be taught as the elective course; Throwback 80s!
2. This course will essentially help teach valuable lessons to our youth. From learning our history of accepting differences, to how the entertainment industry began to further shape our world, significant teachings can be taught.
1. I would create a self-exploration subject. In the course, students would dive deep into their own mental health/wellness, learn healthy habits and practice mindfulness. It would be similar to Psychology, but more directed around the students themselves.
2. I am hoping this resource will help other young people to start practising mindfulness. I’m also hoping it will inspire them to embark on their self-care journey. In a wild world, we all deserve a bit of calm once and a while!
1. History of ancient civilizations or more foreign language courses
2. I hope other young people will read this resource, take some of our guidance, and be less shy to talk about these topics with their friends and family.
1. A class that addresses stereotypes of mental health would be a useful class. We have assemblies but sometimes it is not enough to get the message across.
2. I hope this resource is used to assist other young people by acting as a guide for them to know there is a way to help their mental health. Especially with some families that don’t believe in mental health, we are hoping these booklets will let a person know that people are out there to help them, and there are ways they can also help themselves.