Transcript: The Kids Aren't All Right | Jan 15, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and checked purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "The kids aren't all right. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says LAST FALL, THE
ORGANIZATION THAT REPRESENTS ALL
OF ONTARIO'S 24 COLLEGES
REPORTED A GROWING NEED FOR
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT.
EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE
ASSOCIATION REPRESENTING HIGH
SCHOOL STUDENTS ACROSS THE
PROVINCE PUT FORWARD A SO-CALLED
"STUDENT PLATFORM," HOPING
POLITICIANS WILL PUT BETTER
MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE
PREVENTION RESOURCES IN PUBLIC
SCHOOLS ON THE POLITICAL AGENDA.
JOINING US NOW ON THAT, AND TO
CONSIDER WHAT'S PROMPTING SUCH NEED:
DASHA METROPOLITANSKY,
PRESIDENT, ONTARIO STUDENT
TRUSTEES ASSOCIATION AND A GRADE
12 STUDENT IN OAKVILLE...

Dasha is in her teens, with long straight brown hair. She's wearing a red blouse.

Steve continues LOIZZA AQUINO, THE FOUNDER,
PEACE OF MIND 204, A YOUTH-LED
NON-PROFIT THAT FOCUSES ON
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS AND A
FIRST YEAR STUDENT AT U OF T...

Loizza is in her teens, with long straight black hair dyed blond at the tips. She's wearing a gray blazer over a red turtleneck.

Steve continues AND DR. ANDREA LEVINSON IS HERE,
PSYCHIATRIST-IN-CHIEF, HEALTH and
WELLNESS CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.

Andrea is in her late forties, with long wavy chestnut hair. She's wearing a burgundy blouse.

Steve continues WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME THE
THREE OF YOU TO OUR STUDIO HERE
TONIGHT FOR OUR VERY TIMELY AND
IMPORTANT CONVERSATION.
DASHA, I WANT TO START BY JUST
PUTTING UP SOME OF THE
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ONTARIO
STUDENT TRUSTEES ASSOCIATION
MENTAL HEALTH PLAN THAT YOU
UNVEILED NOT TOO LONG AGO.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Mental health recommendations."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
YOU BELIEVE THE ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT SHOULD MANDATE THAT
ALL ONTARIO GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS
COMPLETE SUICIDE INTERVENTION
TRAINING, PROVIDE FUNDING FOR
MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING PROGRAMS
FOR STUDENTS, LEGALLY ENSHRINE
THE RIGHT OF STUDENTS TO CREATE
A WELL-BEING CLUB OR COMMITTEE...
INCREASE PER PUPIL FUNDING OF
GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS; AND
MANDATE AND FUND BREAKFAST
PROGRAMS FOR ALL SCHOOLS.
WHY DID YOU FEEL A NEED TO
CREATE THIS PLATFORM?

The caption changes to "Dasha Metropolitansky. Ontario Student Trustees Association."
Then, it changes again to "Student body and mind."

Dasha says SO
FOR US, WE HEAR FROM STUDENTS AS
STUDENTS FROM OUR PEERS ALL THE
TIME THAT OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM
IS GREAT, WE'RE LEARNING, BUT
THERE'S OBVIOUSLY ROOM FOR
IMPROVEMENT.
WE PUT OUT A SURVEY BECAUSE WE
SHUT WANTED TO SEE PHYSICALLY
WHAT THE CONCERNS WOULD BE, AND
WHEN WE HEARD BACK FROM OUR
PEERS, SOME OF THE RESULTS WERE
ACTUALLY QUITE SHOCKING,
PARTICULARLY ABOUT MENTAL
HEALTH.
WE HEARD SOME OF OUR PEERS
SAYING THAT TWO OUT OF THREE OF
OUR PEERS FELT THAT THE MENTAL
HEALTH RESOURCES AT THEIR SCHOOL
WERE INACCESSIBLE AND 75 percent
THOUGHT THEY WERE INTEXTTIVE AND
AT THAT POINT IT WAS CLEAR TO US
THERE WAS A CONCERN AND WE
NEEDED TO DEVELOP A FORM OF
RECOMMENDATIONS.

Steve says LET ME UNDERSTAND
YOUR POSITION ON THIS.
YOU'RE HEAD OF THE STUDENTS
ASSOCIATION WHICH BASICALLY
MAKES YOU... YOU'RE KIND OF LIKE
ONTARIO STUDENT PREMIER; IS THAT RIGHT?

Dasha says SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Steve says YOUR PREDECESSOR WAS
HERE IN THIS STUDIO LAST YEAR
AND WE TALKED TO HIM AND
BASICALLY IT'S YOUR JOB TO
REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF
STUDENTS TO QUEEN'S PARK, FOR EXAMPLE.
DO YOU THINK THEY'RE LISTENING?

The caption changes to "Dasha Metropolitansky. Grade 12 Student."

Dasha says I THINK IT'S OUR JOB TO MAKE
THEM LISTEN.
OF THE STUDENTS WE REPRESENT,
ONLY THE 18-YEAR-OLDS ARE ABLE
TO VOTE.
WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THE
STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO
VOTE BUT ARE STILL THE NEXT
GENERATION OF CITIZENS HAVE THE
VOTE RIGHT NOW.

Steve says WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE
THE FOCUS WAS VERY MUCH ON
ACCESSIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY
OF POSTSECONDARY, RIGHT?
WE WERE ABOUT TO GRADUATE.
WE HAD GRADE 13 THEN.
WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE COLLEGE
OR UNIVERSITY WAS AFFORDABLE.
YOUR FOCUS IS ON MENTAL HEALTH.
IT'S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
THING.
HOW COME?

Dasha says IT'S STILL ON THE MINDS OF
STUDENTS BUT I THINK STUDENTS
ARE ALSO THINKING THESE TIMES
ARE MORE STRESSFUL FOR US AS
WELL, THERE'S MORE UNCERTAINTY
IN GRADUATION AND IN OUR LIFE
AFTER SCHOOL, SO THERE ARE
FOCUSES BEYOND JUST WHERE AM I
GOING NEXT.

Steve says GOTCHA.
LOIZZA, A FEW YEARS AGO YOU
STARTED A GROUP PEACE OF MIND 204.
WHAT IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Loizza Aquino. Peace of Mind 204."

Loizza says IT'S A NONE PROFIT I STARTED
WHEN I WAS 15 YEARS OLD.
IT HAPPENED AFTER A SERIES OF
EVENTS.
I ACTUALLY LOST ONE OF MY
FRIENDS TO SUICIDE IN JUNE 2015.
A MONTH BEFORE THAT THERE WERE
STUDENTS AWAY FROM MY SCHOOL
THAT DIED.
AND ON THE DAY MY BEST FRIEND
WHO LOST THEIR LIFE ANOTHER GIRL
ENDED HER LIFE THE NEXT DAY.
A LOT OF STUDENTS WITHIN OUR
PROVINCE, THEY WERE ALL HIGH
SCHOOL STUDENTS AND IT WAS
DURING DOWN SEASON, MAY AND
JUNE.

Steve says DO YOU THINK EXAMS
HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE SUICIDE?

Loizza says I DON'T THINK IT WAS THE
DIRECT REASON BUT IT'S A TIME
WHEN EVERYONE IS MORE STRESSED OUT.
IT'S A STRESSFUL ENVIRONMENT TO
BE IN WHEN YOU'RE AT SCHOOL AND
AT HOME.
WHEN IT HAPPENED, I DECIDED I
WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
FOR THE FIRST WEEK AFTER HE HAD
PASSED AWAY, I FOUND MYSELF
TRYING TO FIND ANSWERS TO THE
QUESTIONS THAT I WOULD NEVER
FIND.
I REALIZED I NEEDED TO CREATE
RESOLUTIONS SO PEOPLE NEVER HAD
TO GO THROUGH, WHAT I MEANT
THROUGH AND OTHER PEOPLE WENT
THROUGH.
I CREATED THIS NON-PROFIT CALLED
PEACE OF MIND 204.
IT STRIVES TO CREATE AWARENESS
AND CONVERSATION SURROUNDING
MENTAL HEALTH.

Steve says WHY IS IT CALLED
PEACE OF MIND 204?

Loizza says WHEN YOU STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL
HEALTH YOU STRUGGLE TO FIND
PEACE OF MIND.
WE WANT TO SPREAD IT ACROSS THE
PROVINCE THAT YOU CAN HAVE PEACE
OF MIND.

Steve says WHAT'S THE 204
RELATED TO?

Loizza says THAT'S MANITOBA'S AREA CODE.

Steve says THAT'S MANITOBA'S
AREA CODE.
YOU'RE FROM WINNIPEG.

Loizza says YES.

Steve says THAT MAKES SENSE.
VERY GOOD.
THAT IS A SHOCKING NUMBER OF
SUICIDES THAT YOU HAVE BEEN
EXPOSED TO.

Loizza says YES.

Steve says HOW WELL DOES
EVERYBODY KIND OF COPE WITH WHAT
SEEMS TO BE A SHOCKINGLY HIGH
NUMBER OF TRAGEDIES?

The caption changes to "Loizza Aquino. First Year University Student."

Loizza says I THINK IT WAS A VERY HARD
TIME FOR A LOT OF STUDENTS
BECAUSE IT DIDN'T HIT JUST ONE
SCHOOL, IT HIT THREE DIFFERENT
SCHOOLS AROUND THE SAME TIME.
IN TERMS OF COPING, THERE WERE A
LOT OF SCHOOLS THAT WERE
STARTING TO DO I GUESS
INTERVENTIONS ABOUT SUICIDE AND
MENTAL HEALTH, BUT AT THE SAME
TIME IT WAS TOO LATE, I GUESS
YOU COULD SAY.
THEY WAITED UNTIL SOMETHING HAD
HAPPENED.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO
AVOID... YOU CAN'T BRING SOMEONE
BACK TO LIFE.
I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING
TO PROVE THAT POINT, THAT MENTAL
HEALTH IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS
TO BE ADDRESSED RIGHT NOW AND WE
CAN'T WAIT FOR ANOTHER SUICIDE
TO HAPPEN OR ANOTHER DEATH TO
HAPPEN.
I THINK THE BEST WAY TO GO ABOUT
THAT IS HAVING A CONVERSATION
ABOUT IT.

Steve says CAN YOU TELL US WHAT
YOU THINK ABOUT THESE EFFORTS?

The caption changes to "Andrea Levinson. University of Toronto."

Andrea says I THINK THEY'RE TREMENDOUS.
I THINK THE POWER IS IN HEARING
YOUTH DELIVER AND LEAD THE WAY.
WE NEED TO REALLY HAVE YOUTH
ENGAGEMENT IN ALL THESE
INITIATIVES MOVING FORWARD.
CERTAINLY SPEAKING TO THE ISSUE
OF SUICIDE, WE KNOW THAT IN THE
TRANSITIONAL YOUTH COHORT
BETWEEN THE AGES OF 15 AND 24,
SUICIDE IS THE SECOND LEADING
CAUSE OF DEATH.
AND I REALLY... I HEAR THE
IMPATIENCE AND I HEAR THE NEED
TO DO MORE THAN WE'RE DOING
TODAY.
I THINK A LOT IS UNDERWAY.
I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF
INITIATIVES, BUT WE NEED MORE
AND WE NEED THE SPEED OF ACTION
TO REFLECT THE CLINICAL NEED,
YOU KNOW.
THESE ARE OUR FUTURE POPULATION.
THIS IS WHERE IT'S AT.
AND OUR YOUTH ARE BECOMING VERY
IMPATIENT AROUND THE NEED FOR
ACCESS, EARLY INTERVENTION.
WE KNOW EARLY INTERVENTION
SPEAKS.
IF YOU GET ACCESS TO AN ABILITY
TO TALK, TO REACH OUT, TO GET
THE CONNECTION YOU NEED, A FOCUS
ON OVERALL MENTAL HEALTH AND
WELL-BEING, BOTH AT THE
SECONDARY SCHOOL LEVEL AND THE
POSTSECONDARY, WE WILL CREATE A
BETTER FUTURE.

Steve says CAN I JUST TRY TO
UNDERSTAND THIS BETTER?
BECAUSE I KNOW WHEN I WAS THEIR
AGE, SUICIDE WAS NOTHING THAT
ANYBODY IN MY COHORT THOUGHT
ABOUT.
IT JUST... IT JUST WASN'T.
AND NOW I HEAR LOIZZA'S
EXPERIENCE.
HOW OLD ARE YOU NOW?

Loizza says 18.

Steve says AND YOU KNOW FOUR
KIDS HAVE KILLED THEMSELVES.

Loizza says MORE THAN FOUR.

Steve says MORE THAN FOUR.
THIS IS SHOCKING.
WHAT IS GOING ON NOW THAT
CLEARLY WASN'T GOING ON 40 YEARS
AGO WHEN I WAS THEIR AGE?

Andrea says WELL, IT SPEAKS TO STIGMA
BEING CERTAINLY VERY DIMINISHED,
WHICH IS A REALLY GOOD THING.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS ON THE
RISE.
THE ABILITY TO COME OUT AND
SPEAK.
BUT AS LOIZZA POINTS OUT, WE
NEED TO GET AHEAD OF THE GAME
BECAUSE PREVENTION, IDENTIFYING,
ASSISTING AND REFERRING, NOT
ASKING FOR YOUTH BOTH IN THE
SECONDARY WORLD AND THE
POSTSECONDARY WORLD TO BE
TECHNICIANS, TO DIAGNOSE, BUT
FOR AWARENESS ACROSS FACULTY,
SO THE COMMUNITIES ARE ABLE TO
PROVIDE THE ASSISTANCE AND GET
THE PERSON TO THE CORRECT
SERVICE THEY NEED.

Steve says LOIZZA, ONE OF THE
THINGS I'VE HEARD YOU SAY BEFORE
IS IT'S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

The caption changes to "Are students suffering more today?"

Loizza says I THINK
ESSENTIALLY IT MEANS THAT PEOPLE
ARE GOING TO STRUGGLE IN THEIR
LIVES, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO
STRUGGLE WITH THEIR HEALTH,
THEY'RE GOING TO BE STRESSED
OUT.
I THINK THAT'S OKAY.
BUT IT'S NOT OKAY TO LET IT BE
AND LET IT HAPPEN AND CONTROL
YOUR LIFE.
ESSENTIALLY YOU ARE IN CONTROL
OF WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR LIFE.
AND I THINK THAT IN TERMS OF...
IT'S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.
IT MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO REACH
OUT FOR HELP AND YOU HAVE TO BE
WILLING TO GET HELP AND YOU HAVE
TO WANT TO GET HELP BECAUSE
THERE IS HELP OUT THERE AND IT
IS POSSIBLE TO RECOVER AND BE A
POSITIVE AND HAPPY PERSON.
BUT IT DOES TAKE A LOT FOR A LOT
OF PEOPLE.

Steve says YOU SAY HELP IS OUT
THERE.
I LOOK AT DASHA'S WISH LIST AND
IT SUGGESTS TO ME THAT THERE'S
NOT AS MUCH HELP OUT THERE AS
YOU NEED.

Dasha says ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK WE'RE GETTING
CONTRADICTORY MESSAGES.
WELL-BEING IS IMPORTANT.
YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF
YOURSELF.
BUT WE'RE TOLD YOU NEED TO HAVE
THE HIGHEST MARKS AND YOU NEED
TO GRADUATE AND TO SOME EXTENT
THEY'RE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.
THERE ARE GRADE 12 STUDENTS IN
MY CLASS FALLING ASLEEP TO CLASS
AND THEY COME TO CLASS SLEEP
DEPRIVED.
MAYBE THEY'RE STRESSED OUT AND
NOT ABLE TO GET SLEEP.
IT SEEMS THERE ARE DIFFERENT
MESSAGES BEING SENT TO STUDENTS
TODAY FOR SURE.

Steve says DO YOU FEEL
PARTICULARLY STRESSED OUT ABOUT
YOUR ACADEMIC SITUATION NOW OR
YOUR FUTURE IN POSTSECONDARY
WHICH I PRESUME YOU INTEND TO PURSUE?

Dasha says I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF
STRESS AND A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY.
BECAUSE I THINK THAT THE FUTURE
IS CHANGING A LOT AND I THINK
THAT THE JOBS THAT ARE AVAILABLE
TO YOUNG PEOPLE ARE CHANGING
SIGNIFICANTLY.
THE SAME JOBS THAT ARE AVAILABLE
TODAY ARE THE JOBS THAT ARE
AVAILABLE TO US TODAY ARE NOT
THE SAME ONES THAT WERE
AVAILABLE TO OUR PEERS 10 YEARS
AGO, 15 YEARS AGO.
THERE'S A LOT MORE UNCERTAINTY,
I THINK.

Steve says LOIZZA, YOU PUT
TOGETHER SOMETHING CALLED THE
YOUTH AGAINST MENTAL ILLNESS
SIGMA SUMMIT.
WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?

The caption changes to "Loizza Aquino, @loizzaaquino."

Loizza says IT'S
BASICALLY WITH A PLACE WHERE
ESSENTIALLY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
COME TOGETHER AND WE TALK ABOUT
OUR EXPERIENCES AND JOURNEYS TO
DO WITH MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL
ILLNESS.
WE'VE HAD SO FAR FOUR OF THESE
EVENTS.
BASICALLY WE HAVE THESE PEOPLE
SHARE THEIR STORIES.
AND ONE OF THEM WAS THE MOST
EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCES I'VE
EVER HAD OF ALL-TIME.
I WAS SO SLEEP DEPRIVED AND I
WAS SITTING BACK STAGE AND THIS
GIRL HAD COME UP, SHE WAS IN
GRADE 10, AND SHE WENT UP AND
SHE TALKED ABOUT HER STORY AND
SHE TALKED ABOUT HOW SHE USED TO
DO SELF-HARM, SHE WAS SUICIDAL
AND EVENTUALLY SHE FOUND HELP
AND SHE TURNED HER LIFE AROUND,
TALKING ABOUT ALL THE GOOD
THINGS SHE DID FOR HERSELF AND
OTHER PEOPLE WHEN SHE FOUND THAT
HOPE AND THEN SHE EXPLAINED THAT
SHE GOT INTO A RELATIONSHIP THAT
WAS PRETTY UNHEALTHY AND SHE
ENDED UP BEING PREGNANT WITH
TWINS IN GRADE 10.
SHE ENDED OFF BY SAYING, I'M NOT
TELLING YOU THIS BECAUSE I WANT
SYMPATHY OR BECAUSE I WANT YOUR
PITY.
IT'S SIMPLY BECAUSE I KNOW IN
THIS ROOM OF 700 PEOPLE, THERE'S
SOMEBODY ELSE WHO HAS GONE
THROUGH THE THING I HAVE GONE
THROUGH OR SOMETHING SIMILAR.
I WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT THEY
ARE NOT ALONE.
THERE ARE WAYS TO GET HELP.
YOU NEED TO WORK ON BEING A
BETTER PERSON FOR YOURSELF AND
THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says WHAT KIND OF
FEEDBACK DID YOU HAVE FROM YOUR
HOLDING THOSE SUMMITS?

Loizza says PEOPLE HAVE COME TO ME AND
SAID THIS SAVED MY LIFE.
OR I HAVEN'T SELF-HARMED SINCE
YOUR EVENT OR I'VE REACHED OUT
FOR HELP AND BEEN ABLE TO HELP
MY FRIEND THROUGH SUICIDAL
TENDENCIES.
I DON'T KNOW HOW TO PUT IT INTO
WORDS.
IT'S JUST BEEN AN AMAZING TIME
SO FAR.

Steve says I THINK YOU JUST DID
PUT IT INTO WORDS.
GO AHEAD.

Andrea says IT
SPEAKS TO THE NOTION OF
ACCESSING HEALTH DOES TAKE A
WHOLE COMMUNITY.
WE KNOW THAT PEERS... YOUTH TURN
TO THEIR PEERS MORE THAN HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS.
WE KNOW SOMETIMES THAT THE YOUTH
WHO IS ACTUALLY STRUGGLING WITH
THE MENTAL HEALTH CONCERN NEEDS
SOME GUIDANCE, NEEDS A HELPING
HAND IN TERMS OF ACCESSING THAT
HELP.

Steve says YOU CALLED THEM
SUMMITS.
YOU WANT, ACCORDING TO YOUR
PLATFORM, WELL-BEING CLUBS OR
COMMITTEES.
WHAT WOULD THEY BE LIKE?

Dasha says THEY VARIED.
WE FOUND THAT HALF THE SCHOOLS
DIDN'T HAVE THEM, ALTHOUGH 75 percent
OF STUDENTS THOUGHT THEY OUGHT
TO HAVE ONE.
THEY'RE A SPACE WHERE YOU CAN
DESTRESS AT SCHOOL.
THOUGH HOST A MEDITATION SESSION
OR YOGA EVENTS OR BRING IN
THERAPY DOGS, BOOKS, SNACKS.
KIDS TALK ABOUT HOW THEIR DAY
HAS BEEN.
IT'S A SAFE, COMFORTABLE SPACE
AT IS SCHOOL.

Steve says DOES THAT KIND OF
THING WORK?

Andrea says ABSOLUTELY.
CERTAINLY AT THE POSTSECONDARY
LEVEL AT U OF T, WE HAVE HAD
IMMENSE SUCCESS WITH GRASS ROOTS
ORGANIZATIONS, CLUBS.
WE ACTUALLY HAD A RECENT
INITIATIVE WHICH WAS CHAMPIONING
PEOPLE ON CAMPUS WHO WERE
PROVIDING POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH
MESSAGING, BE IT IN CATERING, BE
IT IN A FACULTY, BE IT A STAFF
PERSON, BE IT A STUDENT.
SO IT REALLY CROSSES, YOU KNOW,
THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION.

Steve says I WANT TO TALK ABOUT
ONE OF THE BEST AND WORST
INVENTIONS EVER: SOCIAL MEDIA.
YOU TWO ARE BOTH ON, I PRESUME,
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER AND
INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT AND ALL
THE OTHER, ETC., ETC., ETC.
CAN YOU TELL ME, DASHA, WHETHER
YOU THINK THIS CONTRIBUTES TO
POSITIVE OR MORE NEGATIVE MENTAL
HEALTH?

The caption changes to "The phone and the damage done."

Dasha says I
THINK IT GIVES STUDENTS MORE
STUDENTS TO CONNECT WITH THEIR
PEERS WHO MAY NOT BE IN THE SAME
IMMEDIATE SCHOOL AS THEM.
AT THE SAME TIME I THINK THERE'S
A DOWNSIDE BECAUSE I THINK
PEOPLE ON THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA
PLATFORMS PUT FORWARD THE BEST
VERSIONS OF THEMSELVES AND SEE
EVERYBODY ELSE PUTTING FORWARD
THE BEST VERSION OF THEMSELVES,
AND TO BE CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED
BY PERFECTION AND TO CONSTANTLY
STRIVE TOWARDS PERFECTION,
SOMETHING THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE, FOR
EVERYONE TO ATTAIN AT ALL POINTS
OF THEIR LIFE IS A REALLY HIGH
AND BURDENSOME THING FOR
STUDENTS TO THINK ABOUT
CONSTANTLY.
I THINK IT DOES LEAD TO LESS
FULFILMENT, IN SOME WAYS.

Steve says THAT IS AN
INTERESTING WAY TO LOOK AT.
IT'S NOT JUST A MATTER OF
UPLOADING SOME NICE THING YOU
HAPPENED TO ATTEND THE OTHER
DAY, IN SOME RESPECTS YOU ARE
PORTRAYING TO YOUR PEERS HOW
WONDERFUL YOUR LIFE IS.
DO YOU HEAR FEEDBACK FROM OTHERS
WHO SAY, BOY, I FEEL LIKE I JUST
DON'T MEASURE UP TO THE GREAT
LIVES I SEE OTHERS LEADING ON
SOCIAL MEDIA?

Loizza says I DO GET
THAT A LOT FROM PEOPLE.
WOW, YOUR LIFE SEEMS SO GREAT.
I DO PUT FORWARD MY BEST FOOT
BECAUSE THAT'S ESSENTIALLY WHAT
SOCIAL MEDIA WAS MADE FOR.
I ALSO DO TRY TO MIX IT UP A BIT
AND LET PEOPLE KNOW THERE ARE
TIMES WHEN I DO STRUGGLE.
THAT IS SOMETHING AS A SOCIETY
WE NEED TO WORK ON.
LIKE DASHA JUST SAID, WE ARE
PUTTING THIS FACE ON FOR THE
REST OF THE WORLD TO SEE THAT WE
ARE HAPPY 100 percent OF THE TIME.
SO WHEN SOMEONE ISN'T FEELING
100 percent, IT MAKES YOU FEEL
DIFFERENT AND SECLUDED.
IT IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO
CHANGE WITHIN SOCIETY AND OUR
GENERATION.

Steve says THE DIFFICULTY IS,
OF COURSE, NO ONE IS GOING TO
UPLOAD A PICTURE OF THEM FEELING BLUE.
IT'S ALL GOING TO BE, YOU KNOW,
JOYOUS THINGS.

Dasha says I THINK IT'S GETTING BETTER.
THERE'S A TREND TOWARDS ROLE
MODELS AND CELEBRITIES, FOR
EXAMPLE MODELS WILL POST PHOTOS
OF THEMSELVES AT DIFFERENT
ANGLES SAYING I PURPOSELY POSE
IN A WAY THAT MAKES ME LOOK
GOOD.
I ALSO AT TIMES DON'T HAVE THE
PERFECT BODY IMAGE OR I HAVE
STRUGGLED WITH BODY IMAGE
ISSUES.
I HAVE HAD AN EATING DISORDER IN
THE PAST, WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE.
I THINK THERE HAS BEEN A TREND
TOWARDS I DO PUT FORWARD THE
BEST VERSION OF MYSELF BUT I
WANT MY FANS OR PEOPLE INSPIRED
BY ME TO KNOW I'M NOT PERFECT
ALL THE TIME.

Steve says WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON
WHETHER SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRIBUTES
OR DETRACTS FROM GOOD MENTAL HEALTH?

Andrea says I
THINK IT'S MIXED, AS BOTH MY
COLLEAGUES HAVE STATED.
I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF BENEFIT
TO SOCIAL MEDIA PROVIDING
EXCELLENT INFORMATION, PROVIDING
SUPPORT THAT CAN BE
FAR-REACHING, THERE'S THE
PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT OF
SOCIAL MEDIA BUT, YEAH, IF IT
TOTALLY REPLACES REAL-LIFE
CONNECTIONS AND I THINK WE
STRUGGLE WITH BEING PRESENT,
BEING REFLECTIVE, BEING ABLE TO
SAY WE'RE ALL GOING THROUGH
WITHDRAWAL BECAUSE OUR PHONES
AREN'T HERE RIGHT NOW.
YES, I THINK IT'S A MORE
COMPLICATED MATTER.
IT'S NOT A SIMPLISTIC ONE.

Steve says I GET THAT.
DO YOU THINK IT ENCOURAGES YOUNG
PEOPLE TO BE COMPETITIVE WITH
ONE ANOTHER INASMUCH AS THEY
SEE... I'M SEEING HEADS NODDING
OVER HERE ON ONE SIDE OF THE SET
ALREADY.
IT ENCOURAGES COMPETITION?

Andrea says THERE'S AN OUTWARD-LOOKING
FOCUS.
THERE'S A SENSE THAT EVERYONE
ELSE IS SUCCEEDING AND,
DEFINITELY, WE'RE SORT OF
CONDITIONED TO PORTRAY THAT
POSITIVE MESSAGE, WHICH REALLY
ISN'T LIFE IN REALITY.

Steve says DASHA, I WANT TO
PICK UP ON ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR
RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH IS FOR
MORE GUIDANCE AND MORE MENTAL
HEALTH TRAINING FOR THEM.

Dasha says YEAH.

Steve says IF YOU OR ONE OF
YOUR PEERS WALKS INTO A GUIDANCE
COUNSELLOR'S OFFICE TODAY,
WHAT'S LIKELY GOING TO BE THE
SUBJECT OF THE ADVICE THEY GET?

The caption changes to "Educating wellbeing."

Dasha says THE FIRST THING TO NOTE HERE
IS IT VARIES.
I CAN'T SPEAK FOR WHAT EVERY
SINGLE STUDENT WILL EXPERIENCE,
WHICH TO SOME EXTENT IS LIKE A
GOOD THING.
IT'S ALSO PROBLEMATIC BECAUSE IT
MEANS THE QUALITY OF THE ADVICE
AND SUPPORT THE STUDENTS ARE
RECEIVING ISN'T STANDARDIZED.
I THINK FOR MANY STUDENTS WHEN
YOU WALK INTO YOUR GUIDANCE
COUNSELLOR'S OFFICE, YOU'LL SEE
HANDOUTS AND POSTERS APPLYING TO
A POSTSECONDARY PATHWAY, A
UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE, OR
ENTERING THE JOB MARKET.
YOU'LL SEE VERY FEW RESOURCES
AND A LOT OF GUIDANCE
COUNSELLORS' OFFICES ABOUT
MENTAL HEALTH OR WELL-BEING.
I THINK A LOT OF STUDENTS
PERCEIVE THEIR COUNSELLORS ARE
FOR COURSE CHANGE OR APPLYING
FOR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY, LESS
AS SOMEBODY WHO IS THERE IF YOU
HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH GUIDANCE.

Steve says AND THAT'S NOT
ADEQUATE GOING FORWARD.

Dasha says ABSOLUTELY NOT ADEQUATE.

Steve says YOU'RE ON A
POSTSECONDARY CAMPUS NOW AT
U OF T.
FIRST OF ALL, DO THEY HAVE
GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS IN
POSTSECONDARY, THE WAY THEY DO
IN HIGH SCHOOL?

Loizza says HONESTLY, IF
THEY DO, I HAVEN'T USED THEM.
I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING I WANT
TO WORK TOWARDS, IS HOW MENTAL
HEALTH AND MENTAL ILLNESS IS
BEING ADDRESSED ON CAMPUS.
AS MUCH AS WE DO HAVE THESE
CLUBS THAT ARE DOING GREAT
THINGS, THEY'RE ONLY DOING SO
MUCH AND NOT PUTTING RESOURCES
FORWARD FOR STUDENTS.
WHEN THEY HAVE BOOTHS IN THE
HALLWAYS, NOBODY REALLY
ACKNOWLEDGES THEM.
IN TERMS OF CONVERSATION,
THERE'S A LOT TO BE DONE AND A
LOT MORE CONVERSATION THAT NEEDS
TO BE HAPPENING AND I THINK
THAT'S SOMETHING I WANT TO BE
ABLE TO TACKLE EVENTUALLY.

Steve says THERE'S A VERY GOOD
NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST WHO
WROTE THE FOLLOWING BACK IN
OCTOBER.
LET ME READ THIS EXCERPT AND,
ANDREA, I'LL GET YOU TO COMMENT
ON THIS.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Educating for suffering?" The quote reads "This seems to me to be the signal failing of modern education –visible among my own peers, now entering the time of life when suffering is more the weather than a lightning strike, but especially among the generation younger than us, we have education for success, but no education for suffering."
Quoted from Ross Douthat, The New York Times. October 28, 2017.

Steve says DO YOU THINK
STUDENTS NEED TO BE EDUCATED FOR
NOT JUST SUCCESS BUT FOR SUFFERING?

Andrea says SO,
SUFFERING IS A DESCRIPTIVE THAT
COULD HAVE MANY MEANINGS.
I THINK IT TAPS INTO THE NOTION
OF FACING SOME HOPEFULLY MINOR
ADVERSITY EARLY ON, MAYBE EVEN
IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, MIDDLE AND
HIGH, THAT WILL EQUIP YOU WITH
THE RESILIENCE, THE GRIT, THE
ABILITY TO OVERCOME THINGS WHEN
YOU ENTER THE POSTSECONDARY AND
LIFE-LONG JOURNEY.
SUFFERING, THOUGH, IS ALSO, AND
ONE WOULDN'T WANT TO UNDERMINE
THE NOTION THAT SUFFERING IS
OFTEN AN EXPRESSION OF DISTRESS
AND CAN BE AN EXPRESSION OF
ILLNESS AND NEEDS TO BE
ADDRESSED IN THAT CASE
PROFESSIONALLY.
SO, AGAIN, IT'S A MORE NUANCED
ABILITY TO LOOK AT THE NOTION OF
SUFFERING.

Steve says BUT I WONDER, DASHA,
WHETHER... YOU'RE ABOUT TO GO
AWAY... YOU WERE TELLING ME
BEFORE WE WENT ON THE AIR, YOU
WANT ME TO SAY IT OUT LOUD OR NO?

Dasha says IT'S UP TO YOU.

Steve says YOU'RE THINKING OF
GOING TO HARVARD, FROM OAKVILLE,
ONTARIO, TO CAMBRIDGE,
MASSACHUSETTS.
DIFFERENT COUNTRY.
DIFFERENT, OBVIOUSLY, YOU KNOW,
ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CHAPTER OF
YOUR LIFE.
DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE NEED TO
BE SORT OF MENTAL
HEALTH/RESILIENCY/WELL-BEING
RESOURCES FOR YOU IF YOU WERE TO
GO THERE?

Dasha says 100 percent.
I THINK IT SHOULD BE IN
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
I THINK IT SHOULD BE IN HIGH
SCHOOL.
AND I THINK IT SHOULD BE IN
UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE, WHEREVER
THE STUDENT CHOOSES TO GO.
WE'RE SEEING THAT THE NEED TO BE
MENTALLY WELL STARTS AT A VERY
YOUNG AGE, AND IF IT'S NOT
ADDRESSED AT A YOUNG AGE, IT
KIND OF GETS WORSE.
BUT STUDENTS CARING ABOUT THEIR
OWN WELL-BEING AS MUCH AS THEY
CARE ABOUT ACADEMIC SUCCESS
NEEDS TO START AS EARLY ON AS POSSIBLE.

Steve says YOU'VE PUT THIS
PLATFORM OUT THERE.
WE'RE HAVING AN ELECTION IN
ONTARIO IN SIX MONTHS.
WILL YOU BE OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE?

Dasha says I WILL BE.

Steve says DO YOU KNOW WHO
YOU'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR?

Dasha says I DON'T KNOW YET.
IT DEPENDS IF THEY LISTEN TO OUR
RECOMMENDATIONS AND HOW THEY ACT
UPON THEM, FOR SURE.

Steve says YOU WILL BE LOOKING
TO THE PARTIES TO RESPOND
POSITIVELY TO YOUR PLATFORM.

Dasha says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve turns to Loizza and says HOW ABOUT YOU?
YOU CAN VOTE NOW, RIGHT?

Loizza says I CAN.

Steve says HAVE YOU MADE A
DECISION?

Loizza says NO.

Steve says NOT YET?
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Loizza says A LOT OF MENTAL RESOURCES AS
WELL, SIMILAR TO DASHA.

Steve says YOU WANT TO TELL US
WHO YOU'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR?
MAYBE NOT.
ALL RIGHT.
I WANT TO THANK FOR COMING IN
AND HELPING US OUT WITH THIS.
THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A VERY TIMELY
SUBJECT, AND HOW ABOUT THESE
TWO, EH?
KUDOS TO THEM FOR GETTING IT DONE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Eric Bombicino, @ebombicino."

Andrea says ABSOLUTELY.
BRAVO.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says LET'S SAY THANK YOU
TO DASH DASH, PRESIDENT OF THE
OSTA, A GRADE 12 STUDENT IN
OAKVILLE, ONTARIO RIGHT NOW.
LOIZZA AQUINO, THE FOUNDER OF
PEACE OF MIND 204, THE AREA CODE
IN WINNIPEG.
SHE IS A FIRST YEAR STUDENT AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO IN
SCARBOROUGH.
AND ANDREA LEVINSON,
PSYCHIATRIST IN CHIEF, HEALTH
AND WELLNESS CENTRE, UNIVERSITY
OF TORONTO.
THANKS, EVERYBODY.

Watch: The Kids Aren't All Right