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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Gallagher

Meet the Members - ILoveMe Campaign

The I Love Me Campaign is an engaging not-for-profit educational program for youth that focuses on self-love positivity and mental health education. We have two branches, one in Ottawa and one in Newfoundland. Our objectives are to educate and create awareness for youth and young adult mental health issues using evidence-based practices. Our ambassadors look for opportunities on campuses, in schools, and throughout the community to spread information on self-love and mental wellness, and professionals in the field of psychology help inform our programming. We have both a strong online presence to reach youth where they are seeking information and also provide on-location skill-building workshops to schools and organizations. What sets us apart from other organizations is that we are developing skills and education as opposed to general awareness for reducing mental health stigmas. Canada has made strides in the last few years in reducing stigmas by bringing awareness to mental illness. We now need to bridge the gap by educating coping skills for mental health issues.

Concerning the NL Branch:

The I Love Me NL is a mental health and wellness campaign at Memorial University! We focus on preventative mental health education and advocacy through social media outreach, workshops, and community events and fundraisers. Our volunteer team consists of 15 executive coordinators and over 70 general member volunteers. We are a MUN ratified club meaning we are affiliated with Memorial University and all of our volunteers are students here on campus. 

Q. What is your society's social issue focus? (For example, we focus on gender equity.)

We focus on the importance of self-love and evidence-based mental health practices.

Q. What are ways that your society has been involved in said social issues?

Some of our recent activities include:

  • Workshops are given to dance and sports teams, community centers, and university students. Topics include: How to cope with stress, how to be on a team, the importance of self-care, and information on body positivity/neutrality

  • Giving back to our community through monetary donations as well as donations of physical items. We have donated to organizations that support those who are homeless, single parents, and university students.

  • Educational speaker series: We often hold speaking and outreach events that are either on campus or conducted virtually. In the past, we have had a “Professional Women's Speaking Series” where we had various women from male-dominated career forces give a presentation about their experience in the work field and a “Mental Health Speaker Series” where both researchers and clinicians spoke about different topics.

  • Self-care initiatives: One thing we tell our volunteers is you cannot pour from an empty cup. Our self-care coordinators work hard to ensure our volunteers are practicing self-care and self-love which we preach to others. Some activities we have held to better the mental health of our volunteers are rock painting, movie nights, pizza parties, etc. We also hold social gatherings for our volunteers to attend and mingle with others. During socials, we participate in self-care activities, eat food, and get to know one another.

  • Knowledge dissemination through social media: We are extremely active on our Instagram and Facebook where the online outreach team is constantly creating content that reflects ILM’s message. Some recent posts have been about time management, breathing techniques, self-care, and coping with anxiety.

Q. How do you feel student involvement in these social issues can impact change?

Students have the ability to create change and bring about significant improvements to their community. Students are commonly involved in the community through work terms, part-time employment, and volunteering. They have a loud voice that can be used in positive ways. Our student volunteers often suggest collaborations between ILM and other community organizations which helps us to spread our message and educate others on self-love and mental wellness. Our volunteers are passionate about our message because it is something that is relevant, not only to their lives but to everyone’s. Many of them say that the information we spread and the events we put off has helped them tremendously and so they are passionate about increasing our reach.

Q. What can your society do this year and in the future to spark social change?

This year, we have noticed that students may not have the means to buy self-care items. Tuition is expensive, and there are other priorities like rent and groceries that take precedence over caring for oneself. Because of this, we worked to create a free self-care pantry that includes items such as gym passes, journals and pencils, stress balls, guided stress relief activities, and more,

In the future, we want to keep working to make self-care and mental wellness more accessible. There is a great difficulty with accessing mental health care in Newfoundland. The waitlist to see public health clinicians is very long and not everyone can afford to see a private clinician. Thus, we want to continue to educate people and provide resources to those wanting to improve their mental health. There are many evidence-based mental health practices that can be done by oneself without the guidance of a clinician, which we promote through our workshops and social media. This may help those who are on waiting lists or those who are just in need of a pick-me-up.

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