Last Tuesday, Gleneagle students and community members gathered in the MPR to learn the ways mental health uniquely affects their generation. Talk to Me 6.0, with the theme Generation Z: from our hearts to our heads, not only spread awareness about youth mental health, but also raised money for the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“Talk to Me is an event about mental health and mood disorders and the purpose is to bring more awareness to mental health and the stigma around it,” said Anaita Dadinatha, grade 12 and event organizer. “This is our sixth annual Talk to Me and every year the event is a huge success.”
Talk to Me hosted a variety of speakers including professional counselors and therapists, district coordinators, and Coquitlam mayor, Richard Stewart.
The event also featured Gleneagle students, Madison Suchodolski and Anika Venkatesh, both grade 12, who shared their personal experiences.
The event had a strong turnout, selling over 91 tickets, many of which were to Gleneagle students, part of the targeted audience, generation Z.
“The Talk to Me committee really wanted to make this year’s theme specifically relatable to teens,” said Dadinatha.
“Twenty percent of teens are affected by mental health, yet only four percent seek support,” added Dadinatha.
“This year we have more of a focus on student speakers and people who can offer resources for students,” explained Renee Boldut, grade 12 and event organizer. “We [had] people from the school district…but a lot of it [was] personal stories this year.”
“We want to stress that students need to learn how to take care of [their mental health] and by coming to events like Talk to Me, they can promote awareness and share strategies,” commented Boldut.
In addition to Boldut and Dadinatha, Talk to Me was also organized by Con-X students Melissa Bouwmeester and Navid Ahmed, both grade 11, and Arshia Lak, Grace Liu, and Joe Zhou, all grade 12.
“[What is impressive] is their professionalism, their dignity, their belief in themselves, and their realization that they can accomplish something that has this much impact, not just in their school community but well beyond,” said Adam Hayes, Con-X teacher, about the Talk to Me committee.
“What they’re doing matters and they know it. I’m proud of the work they do,” added Hayes.
“It’s events like Talk to Me that make a huge impact in this world, and if we continue to talk about mental health, then hopefully one day there will be no stigma around it,” concluded Dadinatha. “Even if it [helps] just one person, it makes a huge difference.”