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Shania Clark
Shania Clark

Shania Clark

She's getting people talking about mental health and addictions. 
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Shania Clark is revolutionizing the territories. 

Growing up, I was exposed to mental illness and addictions in many different aspects of my life. I saw first hand how mental illness and addictions affected those close to me, but we never talked about it. Mental health was not talked about openly, and when we did discuss it the idea of “that is just how they are” was ever prevalent. The stigma around mental health dominated in our culture in the north; which is not a surprise due to the experiences Indigenous people have faced in the past (half of the NWT’s population is indigenous for some perspective).  

It’s no surprise that I didn't talk about it or reach out once I started to struggle with my mental health in high school. I was involved in many school programs and activities, and I didn’t want anyone to know that I was struggling because that would change how they perceived me. I didn’t talk about my mental health for nearly 5 years. It was not until all aspects of my life were being affected in my second year of post-secondary that I realized something was not right. I shared my feelings with my spouse and those close to me, and with their support I decided to reach out.

Attending my first Jack Summit I realized I was not the only one struggling, and that youth across Canada didn’t have the mental health knowledge they needed. I saw the lack of mental health awareness and education in the North, and I wanted to change that. I started a Jack Chapter at my campus and became more involved in other programs to expand my advocacy work. I want my work to change how we perceive mental health in the North. Most importantly, I want everyone to feel comfortable talking about mental health openly, not only in the North, but in Canada.