The Mental Health Commission of Canada asked me to illustrate their new report, “A Mental Health Strategy for Canada: a youth perspective.”
National strategies research what’s not working, what’s needed, and sets out strategies for what’s next. Everyone should be able to understand a national strategy, and making it visual is one way to do it.
Two thirds of young people with mental health problems say that 2/3rds symptoms started in childhood, so it’s important to have a youth perspective on Canada’s Mental Health Strategy. The Youth Advisory Council wrote this report, and wanted illustrations to help show the reader what’s important.
Overall, it’s a great example of knowledge translation in health care. The backbone of any good health document is sound research. Then, it has to be readable. The Youth Advisory Council synthesized and re-wrote it in a clear, easy to understand way. I worked closely with the MHCC’s Knowledge Exchange team and different drafts of the report to come up with the right images. We created over 100 bilingual images in total, and the Youth Council and key stakeholders reviewed my images at each stage. Illustrations explain key concepts, and portraits of Youth Advisory Council members sharing their stories bring the information to life. This community consultation piece is crucial for community engagement.
This report goes along with the original Mental Health Strategy for Canada.
The foreword says, “This document builds on these recommendations and others in order to advance dialogue among mental health advocates, activists, students, community mental health workers, policy makers, or anyone interested in transforming Canada’s mental health system. We hope that you find this document useful for becoming even more engaged in policy discussions that directly impact people of all ages.”
Thanks to 123West for the fantastic document layout.
Here’s to continuing the important work on mental health.