Loizza Aquino, 16, a Winnipeg teen is launching an event called Youth Against Mental Illness Stigma. Thus, bringing together students, teachers and speakers for the event taking place at Manitoba Theatre for Young People.
“Just like a student doesn’t want to get up in front of the class and admit they have troubles with math, they don’t want to get up in front of the class and admit they have troubles with mental illness,” said Aquino. “There’s a stigma attached that makes it seem embarrassing when it really shouldn’t be, because chances are it happens to a lot of other people,” Aquino said.
Aquino dream was birthed in May when she realized two college students had killed themselves just days apart. She then reached out on social media to find others who would join her. Her course was again fuelled in June when she lost one of her best friends to suicide.
“He really didn’t tell anyone anything,” said Aquino. “He didn’t give any warning signs, which is obviously the scariest part, that you could lose anyone at any time and you really never know what anyone is going through.”
“It’s definitely in his honour and everyone else’s who’ve lost their lives to suicide, whether you’re young or
you’re old, because that’s a life lost and that’s a life that could have been saved by talking about it.”
She succeed in forming a group of people with same course. Griffin Jenkins, 18, who has worked as a youth presenter with the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba join the league after seeing the idea on social media.
“I think it’s so important because mental health is still this one area of our overall health that people aren’t really open to talking [about] yet,” said Jenkins. “Mostly because it’s not something that we can see necessarily. So, if someone has depression they may look fine on the outside, but they may be feeling extremely upset on the inside. So it’s great having these opportunities where we can express how we feel and let people know this is a major part of who we are.”
Jenkins wh0 battled with depression from the age of 12 said, his way of dealing with it has been speaking about it and helping other people deal with their issues.