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Here's a story written by students that appeared on the Senator O'Connor's newsletter talking about's presentation of October 15th. This validates every minute we spend to make these talks happen.


Sashbear Makes Waves at Senator O’Connor at OCS

On June 17, 2011, Sasha Menu Courey a 20-year old vibrant student, national record-holding swimmer, Olympic hopeful loving daughter, and honour graduate from Michael Power/St. Joseph, lost her fight with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and died by suicide.

Today, her parents Lynn Courey and Mike Menu go out and speak to students to raise awareness about mental health and BPD (a mental disorder around the incapacity to manage and control emotions effectively) through their organization Sashbear.

On Monday, October 15th, Senator O’Connor and the Stop The Stigma Team opened its doors welcoming Lynn, Mike and Sasha’s close friends to share their stories about Sasha with our Grade 11 students. "Reduce stigma, raise awareness, and improve access to diagnosis and care" - this is the mission statement for the Sashbear Team who, with their impressive presentation, "Borderline...what? A message of hope" certainly got the message across. A presentation was also made in the Spring during Mental Health week to our grades 11 and 12 students. The Sashbear Team, as well as Senator O’Connor, hope to be able to do a presentation to the parents as well sometime in the near future.

Most notably recognized by their orange colour, from their clothing, to their pens and even their " ... Making Waves on BPD" wristbands, the organization has made a tremendous wave on BDP here at Senator O’Connor. The feedback from the students every year is incredible. This year as well, the students were very attentive and interested during the presentation. Also, as a new addition this year, the Sashbear organization came along with a crew from ESPN who had recorded the entire presentation for their "Outside the Lines" story about Sasha and her legacy.

O’Connor’s very own Stop The Stigma Club has also worked on getting the information out to our students about Mental Health Awareness. Bringing the Sashbear Team is only one of the many activities and assemblies that have been planned for this year. In fact during the Mental Health Awareness Month (May) Stop The Stigma will be bringing Lynn, Mike and their team back to share their stories with the grade 9 and 10 classes! The team will be working with the Sashbear organization and will donate all fundraising monies collected during the school year to the organization. Stay tuned for exciting events brought to you by the Stop The Stigma Team and feel free to stop in during their meetings. If you are interested in joining, they are welcome to new members. STOP THE STIGMA TEAM

  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better...
  • Let's remove stigma from mental illness and Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • We are all in this together, you are not alone...
  • Validation before problem solving...
  • Emotion Regulation Disorder is the new name for Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • Let's teach DBT skills in schools...
  • Let's intervene, let's intervene early...
  • Show me compassion and empathy first, don't just tell me how to change
  • Let go of judgments and believe in me so that I can believe in myself
  • Accept me so that I can better accept myself
  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better next time
  • Take care of yourself then you can attend to others
  • Be mindful - Observe, describe, participate effectively
  • Observe your own emotions rise and that of others, pause then engage effectively
  • Strive to be wise, not just rational or emotional
  • Change what you can, accept what you cannot
  • Validation is not agreement
  • Validate, Validate Validate
  • Be supportive, let go of judgements
  • We can't control having strong emotions but we can change how we respond to them
  • Hope is everything and is always there even when I cannot see it
  • BPD is more common than Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder combined 6%
  • The suicide rate of BPD victims is 400 times that of general population
  • BPD is the third leading killer of young women between the ages of 15-24
  • 1 of 5 seek help, 4 of 5 benefit from treatment
  • 4,000 young people die by suicide per year in Canada
  • I am not the disorder. I am a person
  • Stop the Stigma - by Speaking Up
  • Living with BPD is like not having an emotional skin
  • Genetic vulnerabilities and invalidating environment could lead to BPD
  • Breathe
  • Mindfulness is not what you think
  • Mindfulness is being present moment to moment
  • Mindfulness is just observing, paying attention to non-judgement
  • Patience, trust, non-striving and acceptance
  • Mindfulness does not come by takes practice
  • Let your breath be your anchor to observe thoughts as they arise
  • Observe thoughts as they come and go like waves on the ocean
  • Pay attention to what you are actually paying attention to
  • What we frequently think we become
  • Turning my auto-pilot off
  • Only that day dawns to which we are awake - Thoreau Walden
  • It is a radical act of love to just just down and be quiet for a time by YOURSELF
  • You are HERE!
  • Make each moment count!
  • I am a valuable part of all that EXISTS
  • I am Love. ALL is Love
  • The practice of mindfulness is not to follow your heart but to train your heart
  • It's OK, let it be
  • Smile at thoughts, they are empty. The only power thoughts have is the power you give them
  • The benefit will come to your life with consistent mindfulness practice everyday
  • Whatever you do to make it mindful!
  • Kindness is pure wisdom
  • Mindfulness is free or craving, want or hate
  • Be gentle to yourself as well as others
  • When you feel connected to someone that connection gives you purpose
  • Practice kindness whenever possible. It's always possible - Dalai Lama

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