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"I had been diagnosed with a mental illness and was having difficulty coping with academia and extra-curricular activities."
"I had been diagnosed with a mental illness and was having difficulty coping with academia and extra-curricular activities."

"I had been diagnosed with a mental illness and was having difficulty coping with academia and extra-curricular activities."

Be There Stories
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Emilie Leneveu on the importance of showing that you care.

Lying in my bed, listening to the hustle and bustle of the city, I could hear music blaring from somewhere in my building, people running in the halls, and the screech of a streetcar that somehow sounded like it was right beside me despite being 21 floors down. It was 1:00am in Toronto and I was far too anxious to sleep. I started scrolling through photos from a recent trip to Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Below is my favourite photo of the trip, taken at Cape Enrage on a particularly windy, rainy day. The weather wasn’t doing wonders for my depression but that little yellow toy on the bannister got me through my day.

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Her name is Ellie. She is a small toy elephant a professor gave me two years ago when I was struggling with my mental health for the first time in my post-secondary career. I had been diagnosed with a mental illness and was having difficulty coping with academia and extra-curricular activities. Two of my professors checked in with me daily. Then, after a while, it was weekly...then monthly before ultimately they became sporadic travel check-ins every time I’d snap a photo with Ellie in a new place.

Knowing how to be there for someone struggling with their mental health is so important, and showing you care is a great way to support loved ones. Showing you care can look like so many things, ranging from a quick phone call to taking a friend on a much-needed adventure in the great outdoors. Showing you are ready to listen and that you genuinely care how your friends and family are doing can do so much for their mental health.

A simple, “Hello, hope you’re having a great day” can really go a long way. And who knows, maybe you’ll need a pick-me-up next week and that person can return the favour. As a community of mental health advocates -- young people who are part of Jack.org’s incredible network of advocacy and support -- I am confident we can truly change our nation’s mental health in a positive way and be there for those around us.

Know someone who could use a little boost? Show them you care this week by reaching out over the phone or even by sending them some old-fashioned snail mail. Perhaps you might even start a fun tradition or find a tiny travel companion of your own!