Across Canada, youth are coming together to lead HEADSTRONG anti-stigma events. Alberta is at the forefront, hosting nearly half of the 30 summits planned for the 2018-2019 academic year. The youth-led gatherings are particularly resonating with Indigenous communities.

Since the launch of Canada’s inaugural First Nations HEADSTRONG summit in Calgary in October 2016, Indigenous-focused summits make up close to 40 per cent of HEADSTRONG’s ongoing work. Five of this year’s Alberta summits will be Indigenous-led, four by First Nations and one by the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), the first Métis summit in Canada. Indigenous gatherings are also planned in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and the Yukon.

HEADSTRONG is a national, evidence-based, youth-led anti-stigma initiative created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). It inspires youth ages 12 to 18 to Be Brave, Reach Out and Speak Up about mental health. It teaches students how to reduce stigma and become mental health champions in their schools.

“Working with First Nations developed naturally because HEADSTRONG is youth-centric and stories are so key. It naturally reflects elements of First Nations culture like learning through story-telling,” says Fiona Haynes, HEADSTRONG Coordinator for Western Canada.

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