YCC Magazine

Vol.3 Issue 1

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10 NATIONAL YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL (NYAC) You have been invited to join the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's National Youth Action Council (NYAC). WHY NYAC? Youth voice is highly important when discussing issues that surround substance use and mental health concerns of young adults. Service providers must hear what youth are saying in order to design more effective programs. NYAC is a youth led group compiled of young advocates with lived experience that are passionate about making a difference in the way that services are delivered. The purpose of the council is to create positive changes through the power of youth engagement. NYAC is a great way for you to connect with valuable opportunities and other youth that share similar beliefs and values. BENEFITS OF JOINING NYAC • Impact social change! • Receive a certificate for contributions! • Gain volunteer hours! • Perfect opportunity to build on your resume! • Interact with professional members of the youth mental health/substance use community! • Participate in workshops, training seminars, conferences and/or other learning experiences, and will receive honoraria for doing so! • Develop skills such as project planning, research and policy development, and facilitation skills! • Expand your network and join a national community of advocates! MISSION NYAC brings together a national community of young people, including those with lived experience, who are advocates for youth experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. NYAC increases youth engagement in program and research activities, in the development of youth-friendly resources, and in consultations within mental health and substance use services and systems. VISION A system for mental health and substance use that can be easily accessed, navigated and shaped by Canadian youth of all backgrounds and identities. A country that is free of the stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use and embraces open dialogue about youth mental wellness. VALUES • Meaningful partnership • Genuine engagement • Inclusivity and diversity • Youth empowerment HOW NYAC MEMBERS DESCRIBE THEIR EXPERIENCES "NYAC was really the start of my interest in working with mental health based groups, and the first committee I joined. I have to say that some of my project planning skills came from working with this group. Through a membership with NYAC I have been able to improve my facilitation skills. I always strive to become involved in a bigger way. Nyac has provided me with a chance to be a part of something bigger and to get connected with other opportunities that helped me grow. " - Will, 22, Newfoundland and Labrador "Something that is really important to me when designing or advising on a research question is giving a voice to those who are traditionally left out. I find that some individuals who identify as having mental health concerns do not have their perspec- tives equally represented. Giving a voice to these groups may possibly improve access and quality of treatment. I have benefitted tremendously by being a member of the NYAC. I have had the opportunity to be involved in projects like Wellness Quest, a research project entirely designed by NYAC members. Being a member of NYAC has also bolstered my resume which has really helped when I have applied for jobs in the mental health field." - Lucie, 26, Ontario An Invitation to Join the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's National Youth Action Council

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