Name It, Don’t Numb It: Mental Health Chat and Games Event
By: Nidhi B., Halton Youth Initiative Volunteer
May 20, 2021
On Thursday, May 6th, the Creative Spaces team from the Halton Youth Initiative and the Just Be You team (JBY) hosted the “Name it, Don’t Numb it” Mental Health Chat and Games Event. This virtual event provided a space for youth from across Halton to come together and have an open conversation while participating in fun activities in honour of Mental Health Awareness Week.
We kicked off the evening with a Jeopardy-style game led by JBY’s Joanne and Megan. This game allowed participants to actively answer questions on mental health topics such as self care and harm reduction strategies all while having the opportunity to feel connected and comfortable in a safe space with others. It was also a great way to start a discussion about the importance of our mental wellbeing, and why it is critical to act on healthy behaviors in order to keep both our mental and physical health flourishing. This led to our next activity of a mental health conversation.
Hosted by the Creative Space team, the mental health conversation encompassed self-reflective questions and allowed the group to interact anonymously through Google Jamboard to learn how different people cope and take care of their mental health. Some questions included “What do you like to do for self-care?” and “What does ‘Name it, don’t Numb it’ mean to you?” Having this conversation is quite important, as it sheds light on what it means to be mindful of our own needs, so that we are able to better support and show up for ourselves and for the people we care about.
Nearing the end of our event, the group engaged in a mindful visualization exercise, allowing participants to imagine and draw their “lighthouse”; a guiding source in their life that keeps them grounded, happy and healthy. Many people shared that their "lighthouse" reflects their family, pets, and the important role models in their lives that keep them on the right path. Especially during these unprecedented times, we may feel stressed, overwhelmed or isolated, which is why being able to express our emotions and visualizing hope can be a therapeutic and beautiful way to identify our needs and to better understand where we are on our unique life journey.
Our event wrapped up with an art gallery. Youth all across Halton were able to submit their artwork to showcase what mental health means to them all while highlighting the importance of creative expression. This was a perfect way to conclude our event, providing our guests with a sense of hope, positivity and a greater perspective that they are not alone on their journey to a better mental health!
*A special thank you again Michele Sparling for supporting our volunteers in the planning and coordination of this event*