As a young school, Southpointe Academy’s alumni are just beginning to make an impact. The two following alumni for Southpointe Academy are being highlighted for their extensive work in both Mental Health and Wellness. Please learn more about their journey’s below:
Taryn Jessop (Class of 2015)
Taryn talks about her struggles with mental health and her work in Mental Health and Wellness.
Ever since I was a child, I have struggled with my own mental health, but I never really knew what was going on until I found out about others going through similar things. Once I knew that I was not alone, I pledged to myself to learn more so I could not only help myself but also understand what others were going through. Then, I realized that the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn and promote mental health awareness, so that I could help others and my community. Now, the more I facilitate events and speak out with my own story, the more I see the positive impact I am having on my community. And I love it.
From an early age, Southpointe taught me the discipline of keeping a tight schedule. At Southpointe, and in the senior school especially, I put a lot of time and effort into my studies in order to give myself the best possible start at university. During this time, I was able to practice keeping an intense focus on meeting deadlines while also maintaining a creative flare in my work. In addition, speaking and working with Mrs. Downie, the Senior School counselor at the time, and other students that were also passionate about mental health helped me realize the importance of working together to promote wellness. Southpointe gave me a strong foundation to grow upon.
Now, I am a third year student at the UBC Sauder School of Business, specializing in Business Technology Management (BTM), and Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources (OBHR). I’m involved in mental health initiatives both on and off campus.
On campus, I am the Vice-President Mental Wellness for Sauder Health and Wellness, which is a Commerce Undergraduate Society service. In this position, I am an advocate and ambassador for mental wellness for all Sauder students; I facilitate different events and mental health initiatives put on by the Health and Wellness service, as well as collaborate with representatives from other UBC bodies that are also working toward offering more mental health initiatives on campus, such as the Wellness Centre and the Undergraduate Office in the Sauder building.
In addition to this, I am involved in two other organizations that are not part of UBC: the Youth Mental Health Association (YMHA), and Safelight Conferences. YMHA is a by youth, for youth, non-profit organization that aims to destigmatize mental health by empowering youth to become innovative leaders within the mental health sector. We host many different events and programs that tackle different issues within the mental health community. I have been a part of YMHA for the past year and a half, and I have taken on many roles within the organization: Marketing Director, Business Strategy Consultant, Hiring Coordinator, and External Relations Committee Chair.
Safelight Conferences is an organization that hosts an annual conference for all ages and backgrounds that aims to unite all of the topics within mental health to make the voices of advocates stronger. I am the Vice-President and the Co-Founder of the organization, and we are currently hiring and planning for next year’s conference. At both organizations, we are always looking for more people to get involved!
Please see below links to initiatives Taryn is currently involved in:
YMHA: www.ymha.org https://www.facebook.com/youthmha/
Safelight: www.safelightconferences.com https://www.facebook.com/safelightconferences/
Amrita Sunner (Class of 2015)
Amrita talks about her extensive work with mental health and wellness.
I’ve always been motivated to help others and be involved in something I care about so much. Mental health affects everyone in one way or another and it’s my goal to spread awareness to as many people as I can so that everyone can find the right resources and learn how to help those struggling with mental illness. I was in Grade 11 when I realized I want to work in the mental health field and use my knowledge and experience to help others as best as I can. Southpointe allowed me to find what I am passionate about. If it hadn’t been for Mrs. Downie I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this avenue. She not only helped me promote mental health within the school, she got the Peer Listening program initiated as well as the Diversity Club. Southpointe allowed me to be a part of these groups and gave me a sense of what mental health awareness in a community looks like. I’m thankful for that.
I am now in my third year at UBC studying Psychology. I work with Safewalk on campus and I am also currently volunteering at the Canadian Mental Health Association doing data entry for their “Living Life to the Fullest” program. It’s a cognitive behavioral therapy based program open for anyone in communities all over Canada. I will also soon have an article published on mental health in one of CMHA’s mental health magazines called Visions. After graduating from Southpointe, I was a part of the Youth Mental Health Association in Vancouver where Sarah Vaugh-Jones (Class of 2015) and I were “Mental Health Network Leaders”. Through the initiative we got a chance to meet with high school students from all over the lower mainland on a monthly basis to brainstorm how to promote mental health in our respective communities.
Meghan Mackenzie (Class of 2017)
As a student, Meghan Mackenzie, Class of 2017, was recognized as a difference maker in 2015. To learn more click on the link below:
Pictures (left picture, Taryn Jessop; middle picture, Amrita Sunner; right picture, Meghan Mackenzie)