My name is Iris Wu, and I am a university student studying Global Development and Business at Western University. yWE TALK is an idea that arose through my experience with my mother’s depression. After a year and a half of constantly thinking about and refining this project, I finally decided to put this idea into action. Here’s my story:
In February of my grade 11 year, I kept noticing my mom would uncontrollably crinkle her eyebrows and burst into tears. She cried so hard that she couldn’t even stop to take a breath. I was baffled! My mom was always so cheerful, strong, and independent, what was wrong? I started to notice antidepressants around the house and mom making more frequent trips to the doctor’s. Eventually, I realized that she is one out of five Canadians who personally experiences mental illness (source: CMHA). As an only child, I tried my best to support my mom; however, watching my beautiful mother struggle with her mental illness was extremely difficult. At that moment, I felt very alone… But I would hide my own worries because I did not want to give my mom the extra stress. I knew there were a lot of professional services around for people with mental illness, but not many support platforms for people helping people with mental illness, especially ones for youth. Wanting to do something, I decided to put my efforts into starting an organization – yWE TALK, revolving around youth and mental illness.
yWE TALK has evolved many times in my head, and also during the implementation stage. At first, I envisioned a chat room where all the youth can talk to each other; then it became a forum; and then it became an emailing service where youth can email our youth volunteers. However, understanding that the team members of yWE TALK are not professionals, we have switched our vision from support-based to educational-based. We want to focus on what we can do best – provide a fresh approach and initiate conversation. By no longer focusing on mental illness, but mental health, we hope to organize activities in different communities to provide a place for youth to become aware of their mental health and be more comfortable with the topic.
With other passionate youth volunteers, we are striving to achieve our mission and vision, while learning and growing individually and as a team. Through our work, we hope yWE TALK can provide value in the community.
Thank you for reading my story! If you would like to contact me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.