Winnipeg mental health event aims to create conversation and end stigma

A group of Winnipeg high school students are joining together to talk about mental health and provide a social platform for people living with mental illness.

Grade 11 student Loizza Aquino started organizing events with the group “204 Peace of Mind” in September 2015 after she lost her best friend at Vincent Massey Collegiate to suicide in June 2015.

“There were around five suicides from March to June last year and that really pushed a lot of us to make a change in the province,” Aquino said.

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The goal of Tuesday’s event is to help people overcome personal obstacles by speaking up and seeking help.

“You need to still be a kid but at the same time you need to care for yourself,” Aquino said.

Aquino hopes that teachers and guidance councillors will be inspired to make a connection with their students and talk about mental health with them.

“It’s something that’s really important for especially teenagers as we’re growing up,” Aquino said. “I want people to be able to have a good time with their best friends and not lose anyone.”

School guidance councillors, teachers, friends and parents can be good people to ask for help.

“It can be an awkward conversation sometimes but they really do care and I think that’s important to know,” Aquino said. “Nothing about suicide should be a secret.”

Aquino called the group “Peace of Mind” because when people live with mental illness, it’s hard to find peace inside.

“Positive mental health isn't a destination, it's a long long journey that you have to go through.”

The events will take place across the province to get as many students, teachers and guidance councillors involved and using the hashtag #PeaceofMind204 to create change.