Over 130 people of all ages and demographics gathered in Delta, BC this past weekend to TALK about mental health. The local groups we partnered with, Alongside You and 140 Sports led the way in telling vulnerable mental health journey’s that set the tone for all the registrants to share their stories openly. The conference allows everyone to speak because we believe that mental health is created socially.
The incubator, where everyone gets a chance to speak for 2 minutes about their story, their perspective, or what they are doing around mental health revealed these three things:
The need for community ranked the number one common thing shared among people in the incubator, from older to younger. Questions around:
- How do we create community in a world where there are limited 3rd spaces?
- How do we create connection when people are so disconnected today and on their phones?
- How do we create safe spaces where people feel free to share openly.
The incubator revealed that everyone WANTS community and connection, but very few know how to create it, or how to get it. This is something for us in our Hope Movement for us to discover together.
Support was the other common thread people brought up at the conference incubator as important for mental health. There were more questions than answers that went beyond just wondering where to find resources. Things like:
- How do you support a friend contemplating suicide?
- What do you say?
- How do you act?
- Where do you go?
People want to be supportive but are feeling afraid of saying something harmful or offensive. This is where the stigma still seems to have a hold.
Understanding was the third item of importance that came up at the conference. “Everyone has a deep need to feel understood. When we don’t, we become all kinds of ugly, but when we do feel understood, we BECOME.” Again, we all WANT to create this, but we lack the HOW.
The conference revealed that we are on the right track with knowing WHAT do do about mental health, but we need more skills as individuals and groups on HOW.
We will be working on how to create the HOW this year as we gear up for our next Let’s Talk Hope Conference in Delta, BC. What are your thoughts? How do you create community, support and understanding? Let us know!