• Welcome

    Check out our promotional video for the conference and continue scrolling to learn more about the Student in Mind 2016 Mental Health Conference!

  • Register Now

    The conference will take place the weekend of October 1st and 2nd (Saturday and Sunday) from 10AM to 3PM each day. You can register for one day or both days. To get the full conference experience, we encourage you to sign up for both days!

    • The cost for one day is $7 and the cost for two days is $10. For each day that you attend, this registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and all conference day activities (speakers, workshops, panels, active breaks, etc.).
    • You can pay online when you register, or come by one of our registration tables to pay in cash. We'll inform you about where and when we will be tabling.
    • Registration closes Thursday, September 29 at 11:59pm. Given the popularity of the conference in past years, we encourage you to register as much in advance as possible to reserve your spot.  
    • It will be taking place in the William Shatner University Centre (SSMU Building) on McGill's downtown campus.

  • Day 1

    Saturday, October 1

    9:00 AM - 9:45 AM: Sign-in & Breakfast with Therapy Dogs

    Sign in and enjoy some delicious Fairmount Bagels for breakfast while enjoying the company of some lovely therapy dogs!

    10:00 AM - 10:30 AM: Speaker - Malek Yalaoui

    Malek Yalaoui is a McGill alumna turned social activist and writer. Using emails, poetry and diary entries from her time at McGill, Malek will explore the impact of university life on student mental health, including her own. She’ll end with some all important tips for maintaining your well-being at university!

    10:40 AM - 11:40 AM: Workshops (choose between)

    Mental Health 101:

    Given that participants come from diverse backgrounds and varying degrees of familiarity with mental health related topics, the first workshop will provide an overview of mental health, mental illness and stigma. Get ready for some engaging discussions, thought provoking activities and exciting new perspectives!

     

    Peer Support:

    Supporting a friend who is struggling with a mental health issues can be challenging. We want to help, and yet we don't always know the right thing to say or do. This workshop will allow participants to become better supporters by developing and refining your active listening skills through role playing.

    11:40 AM - 12:20 PM: Lunch

    12:30 PM - 1:30 PM: Panels (choice of one)

    A favourite among conference attendees in past years are SiM’s panel discussions! We bring in 4-5 experts with a variety of different perspectives to debate hot-button and often controversial mental health issues. Panels are aimed at stimulating dialogues not only between the experts themselves, but also with the students present. Choose between:

     

    Panel A - He Said/She Said: How do gender and mental health interact?​

    Panel B - Body and Mind: How are physical health and mental health intertwined?

    Panel C - From Ethics to Effectiveness: How are technological advancements changing the face of mental health awareness and treatment?

    1:40 PM - 2:10 PM: Active Breaks

    After a busy conference morning, it’s time for a break! Feel like stretching it out or doing some serious relaxation? Want to channel all that creative genius into an artistic masterpiece? Why not just let loose and dance like no one is watching? Choose between yoga, The Groove (dance), meditation, improv or kickboxing!

    2:20 PM - 3:00 PM: Speaker - Christophe Davidson

    End the day with laughter with comedian Christophe Davidson! Christophe has performed around the world, including at Montreal’s Just For Laugh fest. His speech will use humour to tackle stigma and explore the challenges he’s faced faced in dealing with depression and bipolar disorder, as well as the struggles of those around him. Learn more about Christophe by checking out his Montreal Gazette article!

  • Day 2

    Sunday, October 2

    9:​00 AM - 9:45 AM: Sign-in & Breakfast

    Participant Sign-in and Bagel Breakfast

    10:​00 AM - 10:15 AM: Opening Remarks

    10:​15 AM - 11:15 AM: Panels (Choose one)

    We bring in 4-5 experts with a variety of different perspectives to debate hot-button and often controversial mental health issues. Panels are aimed at stimulating dialogues not only between the experts themselves, but also with the students present. Choose between:

    Panel D - McGill and Beyond: Do universities have a responsibility to foster and accommodate students' mental health?

    Panel E - Beyond Empathy: How should the principles of anti-discrimination be included in therapy?

    Panel F - Life can be a Trip: What role do recreational and alternative drugs play in the treatment of mental illness and in our everyday lives?

    Panel G - Putting Knowledge to Practice: How will advancements in neuroscience and genetics research impact the treatment and diagnosis of mental illnesses?

    11:​25 AM - 12:25 AM: Workshops (Choose one)

    Maintaining Wellness: With school, work, relationships and life in general, taking care of our well-being often takes a back seat. We know it's important, and yet we don't think consciously and intentionally about how to maintain our wellness very often. In this workshop we will discuss concrete strategies to maintain your mental health on a daily basis through building a wellness toolbox, recognizing when we are becoming unwell and learning how to identify and manage triggers

     

    Self-Determination: It can be difficult to stay motivated in a stressful and competitive work environment. Have you ever wondered why? This workshop explores self-determination theory, which looks at factors that contribute to motivation and overall well-being. Participants will learn concrete strategies to foster greater intrinsic motivation and autonomy in their daily life, including effective goal setting to support success and happiness.

    12:​25 PM - 1:25 PM: Lunch and Resource/Innovation Fair

    Explore all of McGill's wellness and mental health related groups and services! Learn where to get support on-campus and how to get involved with mental health at McGill. Plus, all groups and services will be showcasing the innovative side of what they do. Get ready to be inspired by creative and unique projects, ranging from new peer support groups to the latest in neurotechnology.

    1:30 PM - 2:30 PM: A New Frame of Mind

    The Transition Towards Integrated Psychological Services at McGill

    Based on community feedback and recommendations around how to improve access to our services and the student experience at McGill, Student Services is now offering integrated psychological services that no longer require students to self-select whether to go to Counselling or Mental Health Service. This is the first step in the transition towards a new psychological service delivery model and a single point of entry for all health and wellness services. Join us for an interactive presentation and Q&A with the steering group behind this initiative, to learn more about the harmonization of services, streamlining of processes, and how you can provide feedback during this critical transitional phase.

    2:30 PM - 3:00 PM: Speaker - Evan Berry

    The conference will end with an inspiring and empowering speech by Evan Berry, a McGill grad with an extensive history of peer support and mental health advocacy. Check out his valedictorian speech and get excited for SiM 2016!

  • 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.

     

    Caitlin Courchesne

    Content

    What's your story?
    I’m a puzzle-lover, and the brain is my favourite puzzle of them all. Modern neuroscience has uncovered so many of the mysteries of the human brain – but there is still so much left unexplained. I’m hooked on this mystery, from the origins of disease to the underpinnings of our decision-making habits. I love what I study as a U3 neuroscience major and I hope to spend the majority of my life piecing this puzzle together.

     

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

    10 years ago, mental health was a taboo. My parents didn’t talk about it, my teachers didn’t talk about it, and until I was diagnosed with a mental health disorder in my teens, I didn’t feel that I had a reason to talk about it either. What I’ve realized since then is that voice is the most powerful tool we have to overcome uncertainty, prejudice and fear. Talking about my experience not only helped me out of feelings of isolation, but also connected me to so many people that I wouldn’t have expected to connect with. The beauty of this year’s conference its emphasis on conversation and peer support. We are a notoriously opinionated generation, but when it comes to tackling the stigma surrounding mental health, this is a critical advantage. It takes a global shift in mentality to eliminate a tabooed image, but once we start talking, anything is possible.

     

    What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?

    The three Cs ­– coffee, chocolate and CrossFit.

     

    What's your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

    Two words: Tapas 24. (Okay, technically a word and a number, but you need to eat here!)

     

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

    Roll out on a foam roller! These things change lives.
     

    What's something that motivates you?

    Family motivates me each and every day. I’m fortunate to have been raised and influenced by a few generations of hard-workers and big dreamers – I would stop at nothing to make these role models proud.

     

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

    A yam. Because y-am I deliberating this?
     

    What superpower would you want to have?

    Time travel.

     

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

    Iceland (which will hopefully happen within the next few months!)

     

    What is the last movie you watched?

    Not technically a movie, but Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next... its on Netflix, seriously take a break and check this out!

     

    What is the theme song to your life and why?

    Without a doubt, “Let it Go” from Frozen – bring it Montreal, the cold never bothered me anyway.

     

     

     

    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, sat 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 five 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.

     

     

  • Connect With Us

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

    Email us at studentsinmind@gmail.com