• Vision and Goals

     

    To Promote and Disseminate Knowledge

    We will provide participants with a basic understanding of mental health and mental illness, while also introducing them to alternate perspectives, lesser-known practices, cutting edge research and broader contexts.

    To Continue the Conversation

    Building upon years of progress and work within the McGill community and beyond, we will continue to expand the scope of discussions surrounding mental wellness and mental illness. This will lead to greater awareness, reduced stigma and will normalize the discourse regarding mental health.

    To Provide Practical Tools and Resources

    We will equip participants with the tools necessary to navigate McGill’s wellness resources, thus providing them the practical skills needed to maintain positive mental health, both individually and in their peers.

    To Empower Individuals and Unite Communities

    The aforementioned goals build upon each other, creating a staircase that leads to our ultimate objectives: empowerment and unity. General discussion leads to knowledge, and knowledge can then be translated to practical usage. It is this combination of all three actions that empowers students, allowing them to “climb the staircase” towards a more mental-health conscious, less stigmatizing and overall supportive community.

  • Who We Are

    Here is the executive team for this year's Students in Mind Mental Health Conference! Check out the bios below to learn more about the team! Feel free to get in contact with any of us via e-mail by clicking on the photos!

    Alison Ross

    Communications

    What's your story?

    I'm going into my 3rd year studying Neuroscience with a minor in World Religions. I grew up in Vancouver B.C. which is definitely the culprit for my love of trees, mountains, oceans, hiking and basically all things outdoors. I'm also a pretty big fan of food, travelling, music and sports -- I even play on the varsity field hockey team here at McGill!

     

    Why did you choose to get involved with Students in Mind?

    The brain has always been something that fascinates me and after reading Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in grade 10, I realized the incredible importance of mental health issues. Growing up, mental illness was something I was personally never touched by but many of my close friends in high school really struggled with various diseases and stigma often impeded their getting better. As a peer, I was driven to help in any way possible and through self-education, mental health issues became a real passion of mine. Then, when I suffered a fairly severe concussion in October last year, mental illness became a reality for me as well: I fell into depression and had serious anxiety. Oddly enough, I had attended Students in Mind 2015 conference two weeks before my concussion and over time, I found myself repeatedly coming back to information gained at the conference to help navigate my way out of the darkness. Thankfully, my depression and anxiety began to fade a couple months after the initial concussion (they are both a symptom of concussions as well as a result of the recovery, which often requires lots of isolation in dark rooms). What didn't fade however, was a newfound understanding of the daily struggle of so many people around me. What I learned from this experience was that mental health (something that every single human has) is in constant flux and that just because the last few days, weeks, or even years have been good does not guarantee the same in the future. Rather, achieving and maintaining positive mental health is something that requires attention and energy on a daily basis and SiM 2015 was really crucial helping equip me with the skills needed to do that, both for myself and in society at large. Being part of SiM 2016 seemed like the best way to give back and come full circle.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    1. My earphones (forgetting these at home is a recipe for a bad day)
    2. A water bottle (I'm literally always thirsty)
    3. Mangos (honestly a gift from the heavens)
    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Such a hard choice. Probably either Grumann '78 or Bon Vivant for brunch. I keep a never ending list of restaurants to try though so it is always fluctuating.

     

    You can do anything you want to right now, what is it?

    Go for a hike, ideally with a nice summit view, and camp the night with a couple of pals.

     

    What's something that motivates you?

    Watching the YouTube video of "I'll Make a Man Out Of You" from Mulan. Honestly fires me up so much, I always watch it when I'm in the depths of McLennan during finals.

     

    If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

    Probably spinach honestly, for 2 reasons...

    1. I consume so much of it, I'm probably at least 47% spinach by now. 
    2. It surprises you: it could come in salads, lasagna or even a smoothie. You gotta keep the people guessing.

    What superpower would you want to have?

    Being able to fly. Birds definitely don't know how good they have it up in the sky.

     

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    Rwanda -- I would love to hike and see the silverback gorillas in the jungle.

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    The Lizzie Maguire Movie (because why not take a crazy chance?)

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    "Girl From the North Country" by Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash (from Nashville Skyline). Because it's one of the most beautiful duets ever recorded and sometimes I like to imagine that it's about me.

     

    Josika Gupta

    Content

    What's your story?

    I’m going into my fourth and final year in Psychology, and am low key terrified of what comes next. I was born in India, and have grown up moving around so I’m not very used to staying put in one place for too long. As you can probably guess, that means that I love travelling and experiencing new things. Even though I like moving around, I’m a bit of a home body too, and love reading books, comics and watching TV. I will consume any and all sources of media I can get my hands on, and love engaging critically with them. I also really love eating food.

     

    Why did you choose to get involved with Students in Mind?

    I chose to get involved with Students in Mind because mental health (on any scale) is something that has always been very important to be. I wanted to be a part of an initiative that made the subject interesting and accessible to as many people as possible, because as more people talk and think about the topic, the less taboo it becomes. SiM is also super focused on self-determination, so it is great to be a part of something that helps others help themselves.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    1. My laptop (with internet access, of course)
    2. A lot of food
    3. My family (including my dog)

    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Sparta Poulet Grille – their chicken souvlaki is to die for.

     

    You can do anything you want to right now, what is it?

    Right now I want to lie down in the sun, read a few comics (I’m just about to start Alias, the series that the show Jessica Jones is based on), and have a nice, cold drink.

     

    What's something that motivates you?

    Something that has always motivated me is the need to help other people. I’ve always been drawn to clubs or jobs where the end goal is to make sure that other people are doing okay.

     

    If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

    I would be a carrot, because their exterior and texture are usually pretty hard, but they also tend to taste sweet. Also, they are brightly colored and I’m usually wearing pretty bright colors too.

     

    What superpower would you want to have?

    Teleportation for sure. Just think of how much you could save on travel costs if you could just will yourself to show up places.

     

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    I would travel to Greece. I really love beaches, and was basically brought up on Greek myths, so going there would be a dream come true. I’d like to explore Athens and Delphi, then relax on the beaches of Mykonos and Santorini.

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    Zootopia. It’s such an amazing film – I highly recommend it to literally everybody.

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    It changes every few months, but right now it’s O-O-H Child by The Five Step Staircase. I love it because it’s a really reassuring song that reminds you to keep your head up and keep going even when life is hard. The song was also on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, and that OST has been stuck in my head lately.

    Sacha Weill

    Content

    What's your story?

    So I came to Montreal from France when I was about 5 and have lived here ever since. I study Psychology and Biology at Mcgill now and in between napping and eating I play some guitar and write a little. It’s pretty basic stuff overall. (other than my involvement in the FBI, but that’s another story).

     

    Why did you choose to get involved with Students in Mind?

    I attended the conference last year and was blown.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    My grandmother’s Friday night dinner, my grandmother’s Friday night dinner and my dog

     

    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Damas

     

    You can do anything you want to right now, what is it?

    Travel around the world and go to different fighting gyms in each place, or take a nap.

     

    What's something that motivates you?

    I’m motivated by my own failures, they push me to keep going and not allow them to reoccur.

     

    If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

    Probably a potato, because it’s the most accurate representation of me in the vegetable kingdom

     

    What superpower would you want to have?

    The classic ability to teleport

     

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    Mongolia

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    Captain America: Civil War

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba (it’s the: I get kocked down, but I get up again song), and it’s my theme song because that’s how I go through my life, I may have setbacks but I’ll never let them keep me down. Plus in my heart of hearts I secretly want to be british.

    Tracey Ames

    Finance

    What's your story?

    I’m from a little place beside Vancouver called the Sunshine Coast. Heading into my fourth year at McGill, I am finishing my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics. I have been involved in first aid for the past 7 years, first off as a lifeguard and shortly followed by joining M-SERT in my first year. As my first trip abroad, I recently returned from an exchange term in Singapore allowing me to see a lot of South East Asia. I intend to do a lot more traveling in my future to experience other cultures and wonders of the world.

     

    Why did you choose to get involved with Students in Mind?

    New initiatives such as Students in Mind with such promise really inspire me. I really enjoy being a part of a group that accelerates the growth of such a mentally active and eye-widening conference, especially for fellow and future McGillians.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    Friends, Ability to Travel, and Access to Knowledge.

     

    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Lola Rosa

     

    You can do anything you want to right now, what is it?

    Go skydiving!

     

    What's something that motivates you?

    A difficult process with foreseeable success.

     

    If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

    A tomato - They're bright and colourful and they confuse people as to whether they're a fruit or vegetable

     

    What superpower would you want to have?

    To read at the speed of Reid from Criminal Minds

     

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    Italy

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    The Nice Guys

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    Coastin' by Zion I & K. Flay: Life gets hard or seemingly unfair and accepting that is just the card you were dealt and it is nothing personal not only allows you to get through but allows you to coast through and fulfill your dreams no matter the struggle.

    Quinn Ashkenazy

    Director

    What's your story?

    I’m a U4 Psych major with a chocolate ice cream obsession. I adore flower headbands in the summer, cozy scarves in the winter, relaxed family suppers and laughter filled gatherings with friends. Despite my general lack of physical coordination, I’m an avid yogi and often crave a good sun salutation. If I’m not in the process of reading a book, preferably a mystery or thriller, my life seems incomplete. As a West Islander, I am constantly striving to maximize the efficiency of my commute while minimizing my animosity towards the STM. Currently, I’m involved with the Peer Support Centre and Students in Mind and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work towards a mentally healthier campus!

     

    Why did you choose to get involved with Students in Mind?

    My passion for mental health stems from personal experience. When I started at McGill, I was completely overwhelmed, leading to extreme anxiety. Through this experience and those of my peers, I have become acutely aware of the challenges that university demands and culture pose to students’ mental health. I believe that initiatives such as SiM 2016 have the power to build a mentally healthier campus and community by creating a collaborative environment where students, staff and professionals can come together to raise awareness, tackle stigma, inspire action and make well-being a priority.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    Chocolate cheerios

    Comfortable yet stylish footwear

    Weekends

     

    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Bombay Choupati - the butter chicken and naan are heavenly

     

    You can do anything you want to right now, what is it?

    I’d like to be lounging by the ocean with a good book and chocolate gelato.

     

    What's something that motivates you?

    Accomplishing something concrete for a cause that I believe in. And the future…dun dun dun

     

    If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

    Tough question. I want to say carrot, but that’s just because I eat a lot of carrots. Seems like a valid reason.

     

    What superpower would you want to have?

    I would love to read minds. I’m fascinated by people and am constantly trying (and failing) to figure out what’s going on in their heads, so mind reading would be an effective shortcut. It would also make bus and metro commutes considerably less boring.

     

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    I’ve had amazing experiences in Italy and would absolutely love to go back eventually. However, I think that my next destination should be somewhere that I’ve yet to explore. I’m open to suggestions!

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    Whiplash (not my choice). It was more intense than expected.

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    WE ALL VOTED TO REMOVE THIS QUESTION

    Vithushon Thayalan

    Publicity

    What's your story?

    I'm a U3 Math major starting my fourth year here at McGill. I'm from a suburb OF Toronto known as Scarborough and my time here has been quite the learning experience. I'm a big fan of a lot of TV from Greys' to House of Cards to Psych. Currently I'm spending way too much time walking from Old Port to St. Joseph's Oratory in my quest to become the Pokemon (Go) Master. I have been involved with McGill residences in the past as a Floor Fellow, sit on the board for AMUSE and am a campus tour guide!

     

    Why did you choose to get involved with Students in Mind?

    Mental health wasn't really talked about too much during my upbringing. I imagine it was a combination of both the social stigma surrounding it and lack of knowledge around it culturally. It wasn't until I got to McGill where I really was able to start getting educated and expanding my knowledge in the realm of mental health. I find navigating my own mental health, although quite difficult at times, to be an empowering thing and I want to help others navigate their mental health in any way that I can which is why I decided to get involved with Students in Mind! I believe that this conference does good work in the local community and has the capacity to teach, help, and inspire others in topics surrounding mental health.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    Mangos

    Music

    Memories (had to continue with the M theme)

     

    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Satay Brothers

     

    You can do anything you want to right now, what is it?

    Be a judge for a cooking or baking show (The Next Great Baker or Master Chef anyone?1?!?!)

     

    What's something that motivates you?

    The six other individuals I get to work with to plan this conference!

     

    If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

    Celery because I hate celery and so I wouldn't be tempted to eat myself.

     

    What superpower would you want to have?

    Time Travel or Super Speed; akin to The Flash

     

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    Tokyo

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    Fundamentals of Caring

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    Mad World by Gary Jules; Donnie Darko is fantastically terrifying

    Sasha Burwell

    Logistics

    What's your story?
    I’ve lived a bit all over the place – the US, Canada, France, and most recently a stint in Singapore. I’m a neuroscience major with a minor in computer science, so I spend most of my time doing school. The rest of my time goes toward horseback riding, reading, sleeping, spending time with friends, Netflix bingeing, and playing volleyball, not necessarily in that order.

     

    Why did you choose to get involved with Students in Mind?

    I was attracted to Students in Mind because I think raising awareness for mental health is incredibly important, especially for students. Simply being in university can cause stress and anxiety, and that doesn’t even cover the more serious mental illnesses that can plague us. Poor mental health can be hidden in innocuous places and unexpected people, and raising awareness is a key way to help our peers.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    1. H2O

    2. C6H12O6

    3. O2

    But in a less literal sense…horses, sci-fi/fantasy novels, and (good) red wine.

     

     

    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Sushi Crescent. All you can eat sushi is God’s gift to Sasha.

     

    You can do anything you want to right now, what is it?

    Lie down on the North Carolina beach, with the weather at a perfect 90F and a slight breeze, and read books 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones.

     

    What's something that motivates you?

    I’m one of those classic overachievers who gets joy simply from doing something well. I’m a dork, I know.

     

    If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

    MY HUMOUR IS TOO DIRTY TO ANSWER THIS

     

    What superpower would you want to have?

    I think about this question way too much. Top 5: shapeshift into animals, telekinesis, ability to enter alternate dimensions, control over electricity, self-healing.

     

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    Next on my list is to go on a safari in South Africa! I also really want to go to Peru.

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    Finding Dory! I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried.

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    “How Did You Love” by Shinedown. It reminds me that at the end of the day, what’s important is the impact you have on the lives of people you care about.

     

     

  • The Conference

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