Closing Plenary

The components that fall under the mental health and substance use service umbrella are different for everyone. It can depend on context, culture, socioeconomic status and more. Important factors, contexts, and illnesses are often left out of service provision catchment creating a wide gap for youth with complex mental illness and/or substance use issues. This plenary featured youth change makers who are working to shed light on topics that are often left out of the conversation, so that we can collectively broaden our understanding of true system service and help youth and their families find the right help at the right time in the right place. It’s time to fill the gap, not just avoid it.

Key Learnings

  1. There needs to be more space given to BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ youth to tell their stories, and share their cultural perspectives of stigma and mental health.
  2. We need to identify and address the unique barriers of youth mental health among newcomer and immigrant populations.
  3. No one group of youth is a monolith, so even within groups of youth there is heterogeneity and diversity that needs to be unpacked and appreciated.

Session Speakers

Hodan Mohamud - Hodan (she/her) is passionate about mental health advocacy, youth engagement, and health equity. She envisions a child and youth mental health system where youth have equitable access to mental health and substance use services that meet their unique needs.  Outside of mental health advocacy, Hodan is passionate about encouraging underrepresented youth to participate and pursue careers in STEAM."

Reeti Chopra - Hi, I’m Reeti! I’m a third year student at Western University.
I’m a strong advocate for mental health and wellness for youth and other individuals of a variety of walks of life through research and many other volunteer initiatives on and off-campus!

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