Department of Psychiatry

Mindfest in the News

Mindfest Review in a Toronto District School Board Newsletter (Nov 27, 2015)

Through the use of interactive workshops, information booths, and guest speakers, MindFest strives to raise awareness and start the conversation regarding the heavily stigmatized topic of mental health. On October 7, 2015, Mr. Ahmad and Ms. Storey brought along a group of students to attend Mindfest at the University of Toronto. Once we arrived at Hart House, we were greeted by many university students and volunteers helping out with the event. There was a large selection of activities and events going on throughout the day-such as yoga and an improvisation workshop, but my group of friends ultimately decided on staying at the information booths section. The booths gave out a lot of different brochures and pamphlets about many issues that affect not only youth but everyone in our society. The information ranged from ways to manage stress, to mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and depression. In addition to the vast amount of information, there were also booths set up specifically to encourage youth to speak up about mental health and to provide us with resources in order to reach out and help others who may be suffering in silence.
There were also many activities that encouraged individuals to work together as a team (such as the giant Jenga game) as well as activities that were simple yet uplifting such as writing notes of positivity and hope. Mindfest used engaging methods to interest students in learning about mental health. Through this, students were able to freely immerse themselves in topics such as self-help, support groups, or to just educate themselves on mental health without feeling uncomfortable since it was a symposium that welcomed everyone. One of the amazing things about Mindfest is that it creates a communal atmosphere as there is no limit to asking questions and learning! I think that Mindfest is a beneficial experience to students because it allows them to explore the topic of mental health, without feeling awkward or uncomfortable. Overall, my experience at Mindfest was very memorable and positive as I learned about many topics regarding mental health, found new ways to cope with stress, and received information on ways that an individual can reach out for help. Mindfest encourages everyone to talk about mental health and break down the stereotypes and stigmas associated with mental illness. Mindfest debunks these stereotypes, allowing many struggling with mental illness to realize that they are not defined by their mental illness as well as allowing other individuals to become more educated on mental health and well-being. (by: Victoria Y. and Angelina C., Students at Alberta Campbell Collegiate Institute)