Elizabeth passed away on February 1st 2013 after a long battle with the poor spoon handed to her at birth and with living in a society that had little or no idea of how to help, cope or give support.

It is five years later, 2018. There has been a changes not sufficient, but change in how mental illness is perceived in the public eye and in political will towards change in Canada’s mental health system. Justin Trudeau, our current Prime Minister has personal experience of mental illness within his family. His mother, Margaret, suffered depression. Since being in office, both Justin and Margaret Trudeau have made it their mission to change the face of mental illness, putting focus on the way government and society responds to mental illness, bringing mental illness to the public arena so as to understand that mental health is an illness an illness as much crippling as Cancer or Diabetes. There is still a long way to go but while the end of the road is not in sight, it is at least a road being traveled.

These are initiatives that have been established in the five years since Elizabeth’s death.  If only she could have waited!




Peer Support Canada

Elizabeth was a highly valued Peer Support Worker, her accreditation given posthumously.  She would have been over the moon at the work of Peer Support Canada.

Peer Support Canada is a national non-profit society dedicated to the accreditation, development and involvement of trained Peer Support Workers in Canada’s mental health system.

Peer Support Canada believes in the transformative power of peer support. Peer support is emotional and practical support between two people who share a common experience, such as a mental health challenge or illness. A Peer Supporter has lived through that similar experience, and is trained to support others. Peer Support Canada connects peer supporters and organizations, helping share information and building capacity for peer support.

Peer Support Canada offers certification for Peer Supporters, Family Peer Supporters, and for Peer Support Mentors. Peer Support Certification is a confirmation of one’s knowledge, skills, and experience as a peer supporter. Certification verifies one’s alignment with the nationally endorsed Standard of Practice, and is recognized across Canada.

Peer Support Canada has a robust certification process for Peer Supporters and Family Peer Supporters, grounded in the Standards of Practice.  Peer Support is a core contributor to the recovery process.


School Launches ’13 Reasons Why Not’ To Combat Teen Suicide

Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” has sparked criticism for its portrayal of suicide, and now a group of teens at a Michigan high school are fighting back with “13 Reasons Why Not.”  The initiative at Oxford High School calls on students to share their mental health stories and list the positive people in their life in an effort to combat teen suicide. On May 1, the first recording went out on the school intercom, recited by 18-year-old Riley Juntti.

“Hey, it’s Riley, Riley Juntti. Don’t adjust your — whatever device you’re listening on. It’s me, live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore and this time, absolutely no requests,” the recording said, according to

Juntti’s opening lines are the exact same monologue used by character Hannah Baker in “13 Reasons Why.” In the show, Baker kills herself and leaves behind 13 tapes listing specific people and what they did to her to make her take such drastic action.

The school’s “13 Reasons Why Not” project is a stark contrast to the show, as it makes students focus on positive encounters that helped them get through tough times. . “The show often made it seem as though suicide is the only option when you’re in a very, very dark place,” Juntti, who suffers from depression and was previously in an abusive relationship, told WJRT. “I think it glorifies suicide, especially to such a young audience.” Speaking to the Washington Post, the high school senior added, “[The show] didn’t raise mental health awareness, and it didn’t give resources. That was very troubling for us; we wanted to fix that with our project.”

As a result, Juntti and six other students took over the school’s morning announcements to share positive mental health stories over 13 days. Their main goal was to remind students that they are not alone. Dean of students, Pamela Fine, originally came up with the idea for “13 Reasons Why Not” before handing it off to Juntti and the other students.

“13 Reasons Why Not” is especially significant to Oxford High School as the school community lost one of its students to suicide in 2013.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world.” Yet, only one in five Canadian children in need of mental health services receives it.

Want to know if your teen is mentally healthy? Here are the signs to look for.



THE JACK ORGANIZATION. is a Canadian national network of young leaders transforming the way youth think about mental health. With initiatives and programs designed with the input of young people at every step, it seeks to end stigma in schools, colleges and universities.  In every province cross Canada there are currently 152 Jack Chapters with trained youth speakers and 18 youth led Jack Regional Summits all across the country.