Grey Bruce young adults worried about mental health supports

Community Foundation Grey Bruce logo (Blackburn News file photo)

Two recent online interactive “Vital Conversations” with young adults in Grey Bruce found they very concerned about supports for mental wellness within their workplaces and home-life.

Community Foundation Grey Bruce with the support of RBC Future Launch hosted two online interactive forums for people between the ages of 18 and 30 late last year.

The conversations focused on the impacts of the COVID-19, their readiness for a changing work environment, their economic and holistic wellbeing.

The foundation said the effects of rural isolation, a lack of regional transportation in Grey Bruce, and the challenge of accessing reliable WIFI were some of the issues participants discussed.

A media release said that participants felt networking and building personal connections were an important aspects of work preparedness. The young adults agreed that doing things like volunteering, travelling, and building skills like public speaking and emotional intelligence help lead to employment success. Other insights noted include the fact that physical and mental health are interconnected so, creating a balance is critical for overall wellness.  The participants also felt adaptability will help with developing a career in the current climate.  And they agreed that being kind and considerate, to yourself as well as others, will help with staying healthy and positive.

The news release reported the online sessions were facilitated by Melri Wright and Mike Wright of Ledge Leadership. The first meeting took a World Café-style sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action built on the notion of group intelligence. Participants heard from local guest speakers: Emily Morrison, Executive Director of Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover; Melanie Rodriguez, Communications and Network Engagement Manager at Ontario Nonprofit Network; and Ashleigh Weeden, an award-winning rural innovator and PhD candidate in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph. All participants joined break out room discussions which were part of the sessions.

The foundation said the second meeting, presented in collaboration with Georgian College Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation, utilized an online design thinking platform that encourages visual collaborative thinking.

One of the “lightening talk” speakers, Ashleigh Weeden, shares “Young people today are leading the way: from environmental and social justice to rethinking the way we learn and work, these are not just ‘future leaders’ but leaders who are making huge impacts now.”   Ashleigh highlights the importance of open conversation with youth: “The Vital Conversations project offered an important opportunity to recognize, celebrate, and encourage young leaders to apply their passions and invest their skills in their hometowns, whether that’s through community activism, running for office, or developing an innovative new approach to doing business. As we think about how to not only ‘build back better’ but create entirely new ideas about the future of rural Canada, the way the Vital Conversations process seeks to support rural youth in becoming the lead visionaries in the post-pandemic-project of remaking rural Canada is what makes the work of the Community Foundation of Grey Bruce so important for communities across the region.”