Experiential learning opportunity

Youth Mental Health Symposium – Event May 24th/ Registration is CLOSED

All of NB
May 24th, 2023
Areas of interest: Careers, Health, Mental Health, Personal Wellness

2023 Youth Mental Health Symposium

The Center of Excellence for Health is excited to inform you of a Youth Mental Health Symposium (YMHS) we are planning to hold for New Brunswick high school students during Mental Health Month, May 2023.

Empowering youth – one day at a time!

Event Details


Date: May 24th, 2023

Location: Wu Center in Fredericton, NB

Time: 9:30am – 3:30pm

Registration Open: March 17th, 2023


Our goal is to involve 200 high school students from around the province, in conversations that celebrate positive mental health and bring the stigma of mental health out of the shadows and into the light.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, ALL COSTS for the event will be covered for 200 students and staff who attend! Please see the poster below and feel free to post in your school.

YMHS Teaser Poster – Keynotes

Registration IS CLOSED

The first 50 students from each district to register will be eligible for FREE Transportation, Lodging and Food for the event!

High School Students – Please register by completing the forms link below and be sure to hit the submit button when completed. 


Breakout Sessions are listed below and are included in the registration form as well.

We are extremely excited about the sessions we are offering during the event and would like to thank the presenters for dedicating their time and expertise to celebrate YOUTH POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH.

John Sharpe – The New Brunswick Youth Council (NBYC): Learn about the value of your voice/youth voice in public policy and how you can establish a formal connection to the NB Youth Council and meet some awesome peers.

Tricia Berry – Career Connected Learning & Mental Health: In this session you will learn more about how you can explore, experience and think about what is next in life, learning and work.  Hope for the future is an important part of positive mental health.

Jenny Kierstead – Triumph Over Tough Times with the Secrets of Mindfulness: After hearing firsthand how Jenny recovered from a life-threatening eating disorder in her teens, students will learn 3 essential practices that will them carry them through any difficult situation.

Luc Couturier – Mental Health Coping Toolbox: We talk about changing focus, challenging negative thoughts and grounding techniques as well as self-care and relaxation techniques; as well a connecting with others, exercise, removing unhelpful tools and building resiliency. We also cover managing stress during current events and other available resources.

Caleigh Dunfield – Exploring Art Therapy: Self Expression Through Collage: This presentation explores the connection between creative arts and mindfulness, the power of non-verbal expression, and the benefit of establishing an artistic practice to support and sustain mental health and wellness.

Renate Gritter – I Was There: Storytelling from the Inner World: The world is full of conflicting stories about us, told by other people. You’ll learn about finding your own perspective on life and trusting this perspective as you love and care for yourself and share your story with others.

Chelsea Harris Carr – Teaching Wabanaki Beadwork: Students will be introduced to Wabanaki beadwork. Learning the cultural teachings while also creating an art piece. They will also learn the difference between Indigenous appropriation and appreciation.

Mandy Marie Hunter – The Joy of Breath Work and Mindfulness: Breathwork can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, depression insomnia, PTSD and ADD. Breathwork is also the quickest way to connect with our innate wisdom and change our state of being and point of view at any moment.

Claire Leighton – High Functioning with Mental Illness: This presentation will discuss the meaning of “high-functioning mental illness” as an experience, rather than a diagnosis and explore the many challenges involved. Coping mechanisms, specific to the categories of acceptance and expectations; self-awareness; and vulnerability and support seeking will be provided.

Matthew MacLean – Turning Anxiety Around: We all experience anxiety in different forms and at different times.  Although we can never get rid of anxiety entirely (and we probably wouldn’t want to), there are ideas and skills out there that can reduce its negative impact.

Anna Negulic- Wellness and Resiliency from an Athlete’s Perspective: Anna Negulic is a national team kayaker and RBC Olympian. As an RBC Olympian, she speaks to youth about resiliency and mental wellness from her experiences as a high-performance athlete. Also a graduate of a BSc in Kinesiology, she is experienced in balancing school and sport, while also dedicated to giving back to her community through volunteering and coaching.

Laura Noble – Finding the Joy: Celebrating Positive Queer Media & Icons: During this presentation, Laura will go over some positive forms of representation for young queer folks (TV, books, social media) along with highlighting some historical 2SLGBTQ+ heroes and their work to spread joy throughout their community.

Ava Power – Your anxiety is not your enemy (co-existing with your mental health and understanding the relationship between body and mind): Your mind is not your enemy; it is your protector. Ava will be talking about the relationship between your body and your mind, and how you can begin to understand why you feel the way you do, rather than to push those feelings away.

Therese Trofimencoff – Antiracism and the Activism Cycle: This presentation will explore the general ideas around what it is to be antiracist, what it looks like in the day-to-day life of a student, and how we can use a model of the Activism Cycle to maintain mental health when engaging in social justice and activism.



9:00 – Registration for ASD-N students.

9:30 AM: General Registration/Swag Bags

Nutrition break set up for students and teachers while they arrive.

10:00 AM: START  

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM: RBC/COE Health Welcome/ Land acknowledgment

10:15am – Minister of Education Opening remarks.

10:20 – Agenda and Warm Up Actvity

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM: Keynote Speaker, Sophia Abbass

11:15-11:30 – Transition to break out session

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM: 1st Break Out Session

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM: Lunch – Provided onsite – Door Prizes Draw

12:45 PM – 1:05 PM: Yoga/Meditation session/Reflexology /Outside Breath Break

1:15 – 2:00 –Keynote Speaker, Jack.org

2:00-2:15 – Transition to Breakout session #2

2:15 PM – 2:45 PM: 2nd Breakout Session

2:45- 3:00 – Transition to Theatre

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM: RBC/COE Health Thank you and Fun wrap-up activity. Door Prizes


Registration is the responsibility of individual students, although we are asking teachers and ESS teams to promote the event and direct students to the registration site.

Registration will be electronic throughout the province from March 17th – April 14th and will be on a “first come” basis.  Students will register individually on their own.  They will answer a brief questionnaire online and will select the top 4 breakout sessions they are interested in attending.

Students will be notified by April 21st with more details.


All bussing will be arranged and paid for by EECD.  Students from ASD-E, ASD-S & ASD-W will travel to the WU Center on the morning of the 24th.

Students from ASD-N will be leaving the Miramichi on the 23rd at 4:00 pm travel to Fredericton. They will leave Fredericton 3:30 ish on the 24th and should be back in the Miramichi around 7:00 pm.

Bus locations: the location of each bus will be determined by April 28th and will be shared with the school contact staff member.


Lodging will be provided on St. Thomas Campus, (Vanier Hall, 63 Dineen Dr) for students and chaperones from ASD-N & Grand Manan and will be covered by EECD.

 Permission Slips

 A student permission slip will be provided and will be the responsibility of designated staff to collect prior to leaving for the event (This can be modified to meet the individual school requirements).


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