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Saturday 27 May 2017
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What She Said! with Christine Bentley & Kate Wheeler on The Jewel Radio Network

Halifax student helps change the way people think about youth mental health

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By Dexter J. Nyuurnibe

Multiple times, past and present, I’ve almost become another statistic and lost my life to suicide.

In 2012, 3,926 Canadians lost their lives to suicide. To me this number means that silence won. It means someone felt that they couldn’t reach out for fear that they would be reduced to nothing more than a shamed looked; a label of weakness.

I’ve always had so many questions about mental health. Why are people so silent? Why can’t people reach out for help? Why are youth not talking about something that affects them so much?

Those questions have placed me alongside thousands of other young people and in fact those very questions got me involved with an organization called Jack.org.

Jack.org was created to try to find the answers to the many questions around youth mental health while empowering youth to actively change how we see and treat those who suffer from a mental illness.

Founded after the tragic loss of Queens University student Jack Windeler, Jack.org believes that young people can and should take the lead in a movement that affects us so deeply.

This week 200 young, powerful and passionate voices from across Canada will meet in Toronto for Jack.org’s fourth annual Jack Summit. We will learn new leadership skills to drive a movement with our collective energy that will create a different narrative about mental health.

We will get the opportunity to speak up and act.

The connections we make and skills we learn at the Jack Summit will follow us back home to our communities where we will make a difference.

Our collective voice reaffirms to others, myself included, that none of us are alone in our struggles.

This issue has been relegated to the darkness for far too long.

But there’s a movement of young people who believe that change is possible. We will use our talents and passions to make a difference. We’re asking you to be a part of it.

Why?

Because one life lost due to the silence that surrounds suicide, is one life too many.

And because one voice, one small ray of light, can shatter a thousand doubts of darkness, and maybe, hopefully, save a life.