Jack.org is a Canadian mental health organization which works on education, community building, events and online initiatives. We spoke with Fiona Mak, one of the BC Network Representatives for Jack.org, to find out more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
Jack.org is a Canadian mental health organization, working to de-stigmatize youth mental health through peer to peer education, community building, events and online initiatives.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Suicide remains the leading health related cause of death for young folks in Canada. We are working to break the silence that surrounds mental health while empowering young leaders.
When did you start/join it?
I was introduced to Jack.org through one of their summits right before the pandemic began, and became a Jack Talks speaker soon after.
What made you want to get involved?
As a young person who has felt the effects of stigma and shame, I was desperate to take action to help change the way we think about mental health. This was fulfilled through facilitating Jack Talks. Jack Talks teach mental health literacy, how to support yourself and others, how to identify struggles and crises, and where to seek help all intertwined with personal stories and anecdotes.
What was the situation like when you started?
Jack.org, like the rest of the world, was figuring out how to shift programming online. Many youth began to struggle with their mental health and the need for accessible and relevant resources was increasing.
How has it changed since?
Mentalities surrounding mental health are shifting, but this doesn’t mean that our work is finished! Moving into a world where young people are even more interested in mental health, we have to ensure that what we are doing is still supporting them.
What more needs to be done?
There is still a need to de-stigmatize conversations surrounding mental health, as well as increase education and resources for young folks. Across the mental health space, we must prioritize providing accessible resources for folks who are living in rural areas, ensure that culturally relevant resources are available for Indigenous communities, and make diversity a priority in order to create inclusive mental health resources.
How can our readers help?
Simply by starting a conversation about mental health, you will be embodying our vision. Our programs are all free to young people. This is to remain accessible, but is only possible due to generous donations.
If you are interested in supporting our work, on our website you can see what actions specific monetary amounts support.
Do you have any events coming up?
In March 2023, we will be flying 150 young advocates from across Canada to Toronto for our annual Nation Summit! This event is an opportunity to equip delegates with advocacy skills, hear from leaders and change makers, and create community.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love Across the lower mainland, Calgary and Vancouver Island, the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society supports people with disabilities and community care providers by partnering them with certified assistance dogs.