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Kind words go long way in mental health Post-it Project

Just how far a kind word can go was felt across the province Monday as a campaign to end stigma associated with mental health among youth spread like wildfire.

Members of the Metro Youth Mental Health committee spoke Monday at Choices For Youth in downtown St. John’s about their Post-It Project kickoff aimed at helping youth deal with mental health issues. From left are director of communications Simon Henley, co-chairman Patrick Hickey  of the committee, secretary Olivia Parsons and co-chairman Joshua Murphy.

The Post-it Project is the brainchild of the Metro Youth Mental Health Committee and was meant to let teens know they matter and they are important.

 “Something as simple as Post-it Notes created an act of unity, solidarity among all students and schools,” said Grace King, a school delegate who came up with the idea during a February committee meeting.

“It’s something that can be done by everyone in every school on the same day, and it has a major impact,” she said during the official launch of the committee Monday afternoon.

Committee co-chairman Patrick Hickey said all hands were on board for the project and about 4,000 notes containing inspirational messages were stuck to lockers before students arrived in school Monday morning.

“It had an overwhelming social presence and was pretty amazing to see how a simple initiative can create a supportive network of friends and peers and strangers in a short period of time. We should all be very proud,” he said to the group of delegates.

“We didn’t cure depression today,  by any means, but it is a start. It lets people know there are at least 18 people willing to talk about the issues and hundreds online who support us and care,” he said.

When Patrick asked the room of school representatives to share their experiences about the project, words such as “empowerment,” “proud,” “cool” and “inspirational” were used.

Co-chairman Joshua Murphy said it was interesting to watch it unfold on social media.

“I was watching all the tweets and different social media roll in, and it was not only students, but it expanded outside of schools, and there were Post-it Notes around the city. So it took on a life of its own,” he said.

Joshua said the committee will use awareness, education and student ideas to try to end stigma.

The committee is made up of 18 young people from several high schools in the metro region with an executive.

Secretary Olivia Parsons said the committee and its initiatives will succeed on the capabilities of its members, who are dedicated and driven.

During a news conference at the end of the day, communications director Simon Henley said the committee is all about young people working for young people.

“The committee focuses its initiatives on the needs and wants of young people in their schools and greater community with the goal of advocating for improvements in the mental health services in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

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