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James Allum, MLA Fort Garry - Riverview
November 3, 2016

Peace of Mind 204

Madam Speaker, we know that mental illness is a major struggle for people across the province. This struggle is compounded by stigma, which prevents people, especially young people, from talking about their experiences and seeking out the services they need. Thankfully, there are groups like Peace of Mind 204, a student-led initiative that helps young people understand mental illnesses, improve their mental health and find ways to cope with loss.

Peace of Mind 204 was started by a Vincent Massey Collegiate student, Loizza Aquino, who joins us in the gallery today. After losing a close friend to suicide, she knew that help was needed and that she needed to take action. Peace of Mind 204 is getting stronger every day and has drawn in many caring students also affected by loss. Ceanray Harris-Read, one of our former pages from Collège Churchill, joined Loizza as a founding member. Jibril Hussein became involved shortly after and now helps run Peace of Mind 204. Ceanray and Jibril are also joining us in the gallery.

These amazing students have created events throughout the year called YAMIS, or Youth Against Mental Illness Stigma. The two most recent were held at the wonderful Park Theatre in Fort Garry-Riverview. YAMIS provides an opportunity for students from across the province to come together to support each other, to speak out and to share their stories. When I was in high school a long time ago, mental health was never acknowledged or considered. When my own children were in high school, some progress had been made, but the conversation was still undertaken behind closed doors.

Today, as a direct result of Peace of Mind 204, students, families and school leaders are now having open conversations about mental health, about where and how to get help and about the need to create more supports for young people in need. The courage these young students bring to promoting awareness and fighting stigma is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Please join me in thanking the members of Peace of Mind 204 for their incredible advocacy, for their bravery and, without a doubt, for saving lives here in Manitoba.