• Welcome

    Registration for our conference on January 21st 2018 is now open! Scroll down to learn more about the day of, sign up, and fight stigma!

  • 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!

    Alison Ross



    What's your story?

    U3 Neuroscience major with a world religions minor hailing from Vancouver B.C. I'm a sucker for trees, mountains, oceans and hiking...basically all things outdoors (I guess you can blame my B.C upbringing for that). I'm also a pretty big fan of food, traveling Music and sports.


    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?


    The brain has always been something that fascinates me, especially with regards to mental illness. It was in an effort to become a better peer supporter that I found myself participating in SiM 2015; yet, two weeks later, after suffering a fairly severe concussion that triggered anxiety and depression, my relationship with mental health was completely reversed. I found myself repeatedly coming back to information gained at the conference to help navigate my way out of the ensuing darkness. This experience taught me that mental health (something that every single human has) is in constant flux: just because the last few days, weeks, or even years have been good does not guarantee the same going forward. Rather, achieving and maintaining positive mental health is something that requires attention and energy on a daily basis. SiM 2015 was essential for equipping me with the skills to care for my mental well-being, which is why I chose to get involved as Communications Director of SiM 2016. With this experience under my belt, I have chosen to take on leadership of the project for SiM 2018, it seemed like the best way to give back and come full circle.


    Favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Probably Bon Vivant for a boozy brunch.


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    PSYC 302: The Psychology of Pain with Jeff Mogil hands down. Mogil is an amazing lecturer and this class honestly changed the way I look at healthcare, pharmaceuticals and science in general.

    Madeleine Derungs

    VP internal

    What's your story?

    U2, majoring in History and Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, and Social Justice Studies (GSFS). I'm from London UK and Winnepeg MB. My loves include Taylor Swift, writing songs, and making things.


    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?

    For a long time it felt like my mental health was controlling my life, but when I realized that I am not alone but in fact a part of a worldwide community, I began to take back the reigns. I was first involved with SiM in 2016, and it really felt like a big hug when I most needed it, from people who I felt understood me. I want other people to feel that hug.


    Theme song to your life?

    Long Live by Taylor Swift.


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    MUPD 201 - Business Fundamental for Musicians.

    Vithushon Thayalan

    VP External

    What's your story?

    I'm a U5 (?) Math & Neuroscience major from Toronto. A few of my favourite things are piano, photography and food.


    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?

    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 you currently binge watching?

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine.


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    PSYC 311: Human Cognition and the Brain.  

    Juliana Keefler-Johnson


    What's your story?

    U2 Political Science Major, also studying History. I'm from Montreal QC but I've also lived in 3 other cities. I love baking (my cheese bread is on point) and playing the guitar. I also enjoy playing sports and going on hikes (see: getting lost in the woods)/


    Why are you interested in mental health/ involved with SiM?

    I never really understood what mental health or mental illness was until I started to get anxiety attacks in cegep. I felt very alone, my grades dropped significantly and overall I was really unhappy. I felt like I was the only one going through this experience. However, that all changed when I met people going through the same thing and finally felt comfortable accepting help from a professional. I don’t want people to feel alone or like they can’t go get help because mental health problems are shameful. Being involved in SiM helps me spread the word and feel like I’m helping others with their journey.


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    POLI 221: Government of Canada. Not because the content was particularly amazing, but the prof was adorable and came from South Porcupine, Ontario, which I will never forget.


    Favourite thing to do on a Saturday night?

    Depending on my mood….option 1) grab a few beers with friends and hit the town, option 2) chill at my house and play video game for hours

    Elise Chan



    What's your story?

    U4, studying cognitive science from Ottawa ON. One of my favourite activities is attempting recipes, but mostly just making a mess in my kitchen. I also love indulging in overpriced fitness classes, travelling, and playing sports.


    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?

    I know first-hand how difficult and isolating the academic environment can be! I’ve noticed that as I become more honest and vulnerable about my own struggles, people are willing to reciprocate and share their stories. To me mental health is not an on or off thing, it’s something that is ongoing and fluctuating, just like physical health. I have to actively work to maintain good mental health and part of that is being a part of a community like SiM which share the same passion as me ❤️


    Theme song to your life? 

    Bootylicious by Destiny's Child


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    PSYC 302 - The Psychology of Pain




    Dalya Kablawi


    What's your story?

    U2 studying Anatomy and Cell Biology. I'm from Palestine, born and raised in Kuwait. I love listening to K-pop and driving around in car2gos (often simultaneously).


    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?

    I’m extremely blessed to have such a wonderful platform to make tangible changes in the way mental health is portrayed and discussed on campus, through the Students in Mind Conference. Personal struggles have given me more of an insight into the internal conflict that unfortunately comes with reaching out for help. For students who don’t know how to ask for help, don’t think they should, or are convinced that it wouldn’t make a difference, I hope to design an accessible conference that will bring you some relief. I’m involved with this initiative because I know that it isn’t easy to talk about the battles that we, as a society, have been so conditioned to hide. I hope that, together, through this conference, we can all take one more step forward to an inclusive, stigma-free and most importantly, supportive community.


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    EAST 320: Second Level Korean


    Favourite thing to do on a Saturday night?

    You’ll find me driving (people) around the city/McDonald’s drive thrus/Costco blasting some Britney.


    Maddy Mak


    What's your story?

    I'm from Singapore and I'm a U3 major in Cognitive Science with minor (s) in Anthropology and IDS. Other than reading, playing volleyball and capturing happy moments with my camera, I find so much joy in making Spotify playlists. Seriously though, if you catch me in the library or cafe procrastinating, I'm probably discovering new music or trying to best reflect my current mental state in a playlist.


    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?

    Coming from a country where stigma is prevalent and mental health related dialogue is virtually non-existent, I grew up not knowing how to react to relatives of mine who were suffering with mental illness. As a result of this, I entered my pre-teens ignorant to, lacking empathy towards and actively trying to shy away from the people in my life that needed support the most. I now fight for mental health because I feel like I have represented the source the problem. I have added to the stigma that is faced by mental health sufferers everyday and I have acted as a barrier to better understanding them. Initiatives like SiM are so integral because it provides an open and safe sphere for people to come together, regardless of their degree of mental health knowledge, to talk about something that affects us all. The opportunity to become more informed on these issues is a powerful one that should be afforded to everyone. I am so glad that I can, through SiM, help make these essential sources of understanding more accessible to the McGill community.


    Favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Arepera Du Plateau ~ the passion fruit juice there is bomb!


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    PSYC 318: Behavioural Neuroscience 2

    Julia Caddy


    What's your story?

    UO Arts from Calgary Alberta. I'm currently planning to study Psychology and Communications. I love bullet journaling, performing, event planning, board games and eating chocolate <3!


    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?

    Because of my personal experiences with mental illness, it often feels like mental health defines me. However, today I turn my "struggles into strength" by using my personal experience to advocate for improved attitudes, education, and treatment of mental health in my community.

    Now that I'm at McGill, I want to do all I can to foster wellness and support so that we can all experience happiness and health despite the perfection oriented culture we're immersed in. SiM is one of multiple outlets where I am able to spread knowledge, conversation and resources to my peers who may need it or who may need to pass it on to someone in need.


    Favourite class taken at McGill?

    COMS 230 Communication and Democracy!


    What are you currently binge watching?

    As soon as I have time, Stranger Things.


    Taylor Burnett


    What's your story?

    U2 majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Indigenous Studies from London ON (No not the cool London). You cana find me accidentally sketching on important papers, photographing friends, cooking & baking, and trying (but failing) to beat my roommates at their favourite video games.

    Why are you interested in mental health/involved with SiM?

    After confronting my own mental health at University, I realized that mental health is something that everyone possesses regardless of its status. Everyone can - and should - discuss their mental health and strive to better it. Through my own journey in mental health it's become apparent that McGill's mental health services need to do better by their students, and student activism is a route of achieving that. I became involved with SiM to help end the stigma on campus, normalize these conversation and create a healthier McGill.


    Favourite class taken at McGill:

    ANTH 359 History and Theory of Archaeology. It sounds very dry but learning about the origins of a subject and how far it's come really allows you to understand your privilege as a student of said discipline. For example, 50 years ago I wouldn't have been given the opportunity to do field research in archaeology because I'm a woman!


    Favourite thing to do on a Saturday night:

    A Microbrewery and snacks with close friends. I definitely prefer somewhere where the music is soft enough I can actually make conversation.


  • SiM 2018

    Conference Schedule - Sunday January 21st

    SiM 2018 runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and has been carefully planned to provide you with maximal opportunities to gain awareness, skills, and connections.


    Registration with bagels and coffee!

    10:30-10:45 am

    Opening Remarks & Mental Health 101

    10:55-11:45 am

    Panels A & B, Workshops A & B (choose one)


    Panel A: The Effects of Othering

    Panel B: Culture of Consent

    Workshop A: The Fight Against Stigma

    Workshop B: Self-Expression

    11:55 am - 12:45 pm

    Panels C & D, Workshops C & D (choose one)


    Panel C: Oppressed and/or Depressed

    Panel D: When “Good” Isn’t “Good Enough”

    Workshop C: Me, Myself, and I: Self-Care

    Workshop D: Active Listening


    12:45-1:30 pm



    1:40-2:30 pm

    Panels E & F, Workshops E & F (choose one)


    Panel E: InstaGra-tification

    Panel F: Not Criminally Responsible...

    Workshop E: Suicide Prevention

    Workshop F: Happiness


    2:30-3:20 pm

    Resource fair and performances

    3:25-3:55 pm

    Keynote Speaker: Beatrice Deer followed by a Q&A period


    Beatrice Deer is a singer, an Inuk activist, and an advocate for good health, from Quaqtaq, a tiny village on the most northeast coast of Quebec – in a region called Nunavik – “Massive Land.” She is a mother, a seamstress, and is currently a director of television production for Inuktitut tv that broadcasts in Nunavik. Connection to culture, to healthy food and to a healthy lifestyle are all extremely important aspects of Beatrice’s life – her advocacy in this regard has made her a role model for many Inuit, young and old.

    3:55-4:00 pm

    Closing Remarks

    SiM 2018 Panels and Workshops

    Throughout the day, six different panels will take place. Each panel will be a facilitation of discussion around hot topics in the world of mental health. Get ready to explore various intersectionalities with an array of experts in the field.


    Panel A - The Effects of Othering: Why are LGBTQIA+ folks disproportionately more affected by mental health challenges and mental illness?


    Panel B - Culture of Consent: Connecting the dots between Mental Health and sexual assault.


    Panel C - Oppressed and/or Depressed: What factors contribute to the inextricable predominance of mental illnesses within racialized minorities and ethnic groups?


    Panel D - When “Good” Isn’t “Good Enough”: How to balance self-compassion and ambition in highly competitive academic institutions.


    Panel E - InstaGra-tification: What does a healthy relationship with social media look like?


    Panel F - Not Criminally Responsible by Reason of Mental Disorder: How are those with mental illness treated in the criminal justice system?


    6 workshops are run during conference day to provide participants with tools and resources to better understand and manage mental health.


    Workshop A - The Fight Against Stigma: Tips to Start the Conversation and Reach Out.


    Workshop B - Self-Expression: Alternative Ways to Destress


    Workshop C - Me, Myself and I: Tips and Tricks to Self-Care


    Workshop D - Active Listening: Ways to Support an Acquaintance


    Workshop E - Suicide Prevention: How To Recognize The Signs and Help Yourself


    Workshop F - Happiness: The Workshop

  • Registration

    Fill out this form to register and pay for SiM 2018!

  • Online Payment

    Have you changed your mind about paying online? Already filled out the registration form? No worries! Click the button below and send your registration fee to studentsinmindfinance@gmail.com


  • 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.

  • Minds of McGill

    Student perspectives aiming to reduce stigma and create a mentally healthier campus.

    January 2018

    When I hear mental health, I think of balance. I think it describes finding a balance between everything going on inside your head with everything that’s going on outside of it. By that I mean, having good mental health, I think, is being able to perceive the world and react to it without letting things fester and hinder your day-to-day life. There will be peaks and valleys, but to me, having good mental health is the ability to know that though you may be in a valley today, it won’t always be like that.

    October 2017

    Recovery is a choice, every day. It is a challenge, every day. But I've been through the other side of recovery. That was denial, feeling completely paralyzed, every day. And the challenges of staying alive during that period makes the challenge of recovery worth the fight. So if even the mere thought to ask for help arises, take that chance. I've had friends reach out to me after my experience simply asking what it was like at the very beginning, the little changes and behaviors. And even if it turned out to be nothing of worry, or something else entirely, I feel so happy and proud of them for reaching out. If someone offers help, or expresses concern, take it seriously. Help can be the most terrifying thing at first, but don't disregard it, or isolate because of the concern. I can only give this advice now because I didn't take it before. That brought me to getting kicked out of university and sent to the hospital for over a month, and more months of outpatient programs. I was far and removed from everything that was important to me. Help can save your life.

    I also have to say something about McGill Mental Health in general. It is the most unsupportive infrastructure here and that is honestly shameful. I think that it has left a lot of vulnerable students hanging in the midst of their mental illnesses and disorders. The EDP (Eating Disorder Program) was shut down this year without letting anyone know. For me, the availability of a specialized eating disorder program was one of the reasons I felt safe and capable of coming back to school, and it just disappeared. That is absolutely not okay. I am privileged enough to have a private support system here, but I know that not everyone can say that. It is not acceptable to disregard those individual’s needs. But furthermore, the nonexistence of the EDP makes it so that anyone with the slightest idea that they may be struggling have nowhere to turn to. This feeds right back into the eating disorder because the last thing your ED wants you to do is seek help, acknowledge it, and try to do something about it.

    November 2017

    When I think of mental health I think of power, resilience, and awe. The fact people experience trauma, anxiety, depression, anything along those lines -- day in and day out -- while remaining strong, is something to admire. I have been through the gauntlet, but I also recognize that I am extremely privileged. I don't walk through life with the weight of historic and unending discrimination. I always had access to top-tier private health care, which saved my life when I was put into eating disorder recovery. I have two parents who are stable parts of my life and whose citizenship has never been threatened like many in the States right now. Yet, I STILL face difficulties and damaged mental health. We don't need to compare the validity of our experiences, but we do need to understand what intersectionality is, how it affects people's mental health, and how to advocate on the side of those that are struggling.

    December 2017

    I never quite had much of a voice regarding mental health until my first year at McGill after recognizing that I was indeed struggling with overwhelming anxiety and having difficulties adapting to university from cegep. I never felt it was important to talk about mental health because I had always felt my suffering was trivial, and there were others who had it much worse, especially when it came to being a young Indigenous woman. I come from a long line of strong Mohawk women and my mom had always emphasized the fact that we are resilient. I took that very literally and bottled up all my feelings and anxiety throughout high school and cegep. I thought that if I asked for help I would be seen as weak and I would let down my family. There’s a lot of things about mental health that I wish I was told about when I first started McGill. Here’s my list of things that I want everyone else to know.

    1. It’s okay to get help, no suffering is trivial. Don’t dismiss your battles.
    2. It’s not the end of the road if you fail a test/class. It’s the start of an important learning curve.
    3. A mental health day is a valid excuse to skip a day of school (a clinical day in my case). Heck, take two if you need.
    4. Your professors aren’t here to judge and fail you.
    5. It’s okay to cry in the library.
    6. Panic attacks don’t mean you’re dying. Take some time to breathe.
    7. Your body is the only one you have. Look after it. Drink some water and have snacks.
    8. You’ll be waiting on the phone for 1+ hours to get an appointment from McGill Counselling/Mental Health services but try not to lose hope.



    When we are feeling blue, we tend to explain other things in a negative tone or in a sad way as well to confirm our feelings. However, remember nothing is completely black or white. There are so many possible ways to interpret one thing, and especially our experience is very subjective. When I am sad about something, I try to change a perspective and find different explanations. It is like finding something grey rather than completely black.



    When approaching people about your problems, what people feel most awkward about is YOU feeling awkward by what you feel. If you don’t judge yourself, the people that you trust and open up to won’t judge you either. Introspection can be powerful and it may be tempting to believe I am my own psychiatrist, but opening up to those around you can be even more rewarding. You want people to love you for you, not for the mask you are hiding behind.

  • Flashback to SiM 2016

    The fourth annual instalment of Students in Mind Mental Health conference occurred on October 1st & 2nd, 2016. Peer into the past to catch a glimpse of what SiM is all about in our 2016 promo video!

  • Connect With Us

    Contact us with any questions about the conference day, registration or getting involved!