Mental health and mental health advocacy is incredibly important. A thriving organization called "The Maddie Project," is fully dedicated to raise awareness and create conversations about youth mental health. In the following interview with Nicole German, the founder of The Maddie Project, we learn about the importance of The Maddie Project, the importance of mental health, and ways YOU can get involved.
1. What is The Maddie Project? What things does the project stand for and what initiatives does/did the project host?
The Maddie Project (www.themaddieproject.ca) is a community effort in support of youth struggling with depression and other mental health related concerns. Driven by community collaboration and events, the project’s goals are to raise awareness by sparking conversations about youth depression and mental health concerns as well as to help provide uninhibited access to support for youth and their families.
The Maddie Project was founded in April 2015 in memory of Madeline Grace German Coulter. To date the project has engaged millions in active conversations around youth mental health and through community based events (gala, fashion shows, pop up shows, bake sales, direct giving, Run team and more) has raised over $1.6 million dollars in partnership towards the development of Maddie’s Healing Garden (http://www.nyghfoundation.ca/maddie-project) and support of other child and adolescent mental health services across Canada.
2. Why is mental health and advocating for mental health important?
Every person has mental health and one in five will struggle with the mental health in their lifetime and only 25% of those will get access to help. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youth behind automobile accidents. So we all need to be aware of what the signs are for those that maybe struggling, including self awareness and help t reduce the stigma to encourage people to know that it is ok to put up their hand for help.
3. How can Canadian youth get involved with The Maddie Project?
Start by joining the community and sharing stories!
Join the Maddie Project social community and invite your friends and family too
Or plan an event of your own in your school, with a team, in your community. We support all interests and ideas to help drive awareness and fundraising to support youth mental health directly in your community.
4. Words of wisdom/something for Canadian youth to remember in regard to mental health.
We all need to show empathy, compassion and kindness to those around us - especially when someone seems to be struggling.
There are some small things that we all can do in our every day life to help.
First – be self aware and reach out for help whenever you need … if you aren’t feeling well, you feel like you're worrying too much, you can’t focus, you can’t sleep – what ever it is – raise your hand for help – talk about it with someone, your parents, a teacher, a coach, a friend, an aunt, anyone… it helps to talk and it helps to let someone in so they can help you.
Second – have each others backs. ALWAYS! Even if it’s not your best friend… always stick together… always support each other … never leave anyone out or anyone behind. If you sense your friend or even someone you know is going down a wrong path — reach out to them and let them know, you have their back.
Third – treat each other the way you would want to be treated. You never know what a person is feeling on this inside …
Finally – Know that there is always an adult who cares about you & can support you - be it a parent, a loved one, a teacher, a mentor or someone else.
~ Written by Nicole German, The Maddie Project