Students at East Three School got to join in a teleconference with YouTube personality and mental health writer Joey Kidney Jan. 30 as part of a Canada-wide program called RCMPTalks — a quarterly presentation given at schools across Canada and customized to the school’s individual needs.
In East Three’s case, mental health was the chosen topic and Cst. Nick Mysko was more than happy to offer his help for the program.
“Breaking the stigma is huge on mental health,” he said, “People feel like they have to hide their issues they have rather than being open and reaching out for that help when they need it.
“Getting into the junior high is huge. That is the biggest point in their lives. They’re going through the most changes, they’re developing from a child where everything is spoon-fed to them to the point where they get to make their own decisions — and have to live with the repercussions of those decisions.”
During the video conference, students asked Kidney where he drew inspiration from and learned about the many celebrities who struggle with mental health issues, such as Canadian pop icon Justin Bieber.
Prior to that, Cst. Mysko gave the students a formal presentation on mental health — in particular how to deal with it, what signs to look for and how to assist each other in the case of a mental health problem.
He added the biggest thing people can do to help is keeping open lines of communication, specifically with people a person can trust with their mental health.
“Whether that be teachers, family members or outside agencies like the RCMP or a doctor,” he said. “Anyone in that position you know you can trust and what they tell you is something of substance.”
He also explained to the students the process in place to deal with someone whose mental health has spiralled out of their control.
The students aren’t done yet. Cst. Mysko said the next step was for the Grade 8 class to put together a mental health presentation with RCMP and get the high school students to attend. They will also be setting up signs around the school to help get the message out.
“It’s to end that stigma that mental health is something you need to suffer in silence and alone,” he said. “That’s our goal. To get everyone to feel comfortable coming forward with their issues.
“If I can go in there and help a few kids and make a difference somewhere, to me it’s all worth it.”