July 4, 2017 News, Recreation

We Are Community and the UNA youth would like to introduce you to the Know Yourself Youth Psychology Club!

What began as a weekly club for youth to learn about mental health topics is quickly becoming a unique and powerful initiative to raise awareness about the many issues affecting young minds in our community.

The Know Yourself Club was launched in the fall of 2016 by We Are Community’s Youth Coordinator, Taylor Scott, and a group of students interested in learning more about psychology and mental health. Being so close to UBC and seeing all its mental health awareness campaigns, the students questioned why they didn’t have the same kinds of resources to understanding mental health. Especially in a university environment that places so much importance on academic excellence, the youth in our community can feel a lot of pressure to succeed, leading to negative consequences on their mental well-being.

As a former UBC student himself, Taylor Scott understands this academic pressure and agrees that high school-aged students are tremendously underrepresented in the world of mental health. More should be done to connect them with not only the support and resources they need but also to the dialogue and research behind mental well-being. Taylor has taken inspiration from UBC’s Santa Ono who champions mental health awareness and claims that mental health support is a fundamental right.

The club encompasses a model of well-being,

where students should feel comfortable sharing ideas, stories, and experiences in a safe and non-judgmental space. It encourages UHill and other high school students to learn about psychology, start healthy dialogues with each other and friends and family, reduce stigmas about mental health issues affecting youth, and raise awareness throughout the community.

The club meets once per week under the guidance of Li Shao, a Registered Clinical Counsellor with many years’ experience. Li teaches the students how to properly read and interpret scholarly articles, and encourages them to do their own research. With this foundation, students are better equipped to think and talk about mental health and can successfully spread informed knowledge to members of the community. Just last month at BC’s Youth Week Celebration, the club members handed out over 100 pamphlets they had created that were all about sleep disorders and the effects of sleep deprivation.

The club is still young, but the members have ambitious plans for the future.

They’re planning to launch a webpage devoted to their club and youth mental health, which will be located on We Are Community’s website. In the fall they intend to host lectures, movie nights, and plenty more events, all with the goal of spreading awareness about the issues that are relevant and important to them.

So how can you get involved, or simply support this club? If you are a youth (13-18 years old), within or outside of the UNA community, join the club! They meet every Thursday 4-5pm at Wesbrook Community Centre from September to June. If you are someone in the field of psychology or related areas and would like to find out how you can support this great initiative, contact Taylor Scott at tscott@myuna.ca. And be sure to keep up-to-date with our weekly newsletter, website, and the Campus Resident Newspaper for more to come on the Know Yourself Youth Psychology Club!

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