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Empowering Through Education by Judianne Jayme

#BellLetsTalk – mental health and our youth

by Judianne Jayme

   panel Loizza Aquino
Jenica Reyes (left) facilitated the Master Class that featured  Azel Navarro (centre) and Loizza Aquino (right). Photos by Hannah Szymanski / Hannah Manzo Photography
Loizza Aquino of Peace of Mind 204 – Youth Against Mental Illness Stigma

On January 25th, Bell Media hosted their annual “Let’s Talk” Day, which seeks to educate generations about mental illness, the stigma behind it, and ways to approach others with empathy.

For those who are not aware, a recent master class for the organization Dalagita focused on mental health advocacy in our community. We hosted two panellists, Mrs. Azel Navarro & Miss Loizza Aquino.

Mrs. Navarro, a retired clinical specialist at the Health Sciences Centre, spoke about the way in which stigma is rooted in the lack of education about the realities of mental illness. She compared it to having diabetes – it is silent, we do not physically see it, yet it affects so many in our community. People who live with diabetes need to have certain supports and self-regulation to live with their condition – much like those with mental illness. The key difference is that diabetes is more readily accepted while mental illness is swept under the rug.

Miss Aquino is a 12th grade student who began her own organization concerning mental illness and mental health, called Peace of Mind 204, which now has the support of the provincial government. At her young age, she was able to take a stand and start a movement that matters, Youth Against Mental Illness Stigma (YAMIS) – something that all the contestants of Dalagita take seriously. She noticed a need for this cause, and so she championed it. She says that, as the Bell campaign suggests, the simplest step we can take to make a difference for our community regarding mental health is – to simply talk.

Have that conversation that matters, reach out to individuals, and let them know they don’t need to bottle up the pressures they are feeling. Take a moment to educate yourselves, and educate your family about mental health, mindfulness, and mental illness. Together, we can fight the stigma against it.

Parent Tip: Conversations that matter

“How are you feeling today?”
“Do you want to talk about anything?”
“Is there anything I can do for you?”
“If you need to talk, I’m here to listen.”

Choose kindness when talking to your child or children. Understand that the pressures youth face today are different from your generation. Before you judge, seek to understand, and then make it a point to truly listen to what they’re saying (or not saying).

There are also several ways to get educated about how to empower your children through education. One way is through attending events by Peace of Mind 204, but also to attend the all-ages, all-genders, all-ethnicities inclusive public Master Classes by Dalagita. Find us on Facebook ( to learn more about our future monthly master classes.

Judianne Jayme is an educator teaching sixth grade and a division-wide mentor in the Winnipeg School Division.

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