UNB Alumni
Telling our #ProudlyUNB stories

Sponsorship spotlight: Unlock Your Mind Mental Health Conference

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Apr 24, 2023

Category: Young Alumni , UNB Fredericton , Inspiring Stories

The UNB Associated Alumni provides annual sponsorships to a wide range of student organizations, associations, groups, athletic teams and clubs in support of the university and its students.

 The Unlock Your Mind Mental Health Conference, led by a talented executive team of UNB alumni and students, brought together individuals with personal experience, professionals with clinical experience, expert panelists, workshops, and resource booths, to reduce the stigma around mental health. Co-chair and UNB alum Jordyn Weddell (BSc'19) reflects on this year's conference, held March 25, 2023, and tells us how they're working to make an impact in the community. 

What inspired the creation of the Unlock Your Mind Mental Health Conference?

The founding team of Unlock Your Mind discussed some of the barriers to accessing mental health services in Fredericton. We noticed there weren’t many resources offered outside of business hours, many services required referrals, and the majority had extremely long waitlists. Frustrated with our own experiences trying to navigate and access the mental health system, we decided to design the conference with these criteria in mind in the hopes of filling some of the gaps we saw and experienced.

What were the goals of this year’s 2023 conference?

Unlock Your Mind has five main pillars: aiming to reduce stigma, raising awareness, education, fostering community resilience through connection, and offering take-home mental health skills. We accomplish these goals through speakers from the professional and lived experience-side of mental health, workshops, panels, a keynote speaker, community resource booths, sensory spaces, therapy dogs, and networking breaks.

What do you find most impactful about bringing together UNB students, alumni and community members in this space?

The diverse perspectives of students, alumni, and community members are very much valued as an asset to UYM. We see a range of people come through our doors; some who are just beginning their mental health journey and others who have been in recovery for long lengths of time. Bringing this spectrum of people together can help spark very interesting conversations and can help bring inspiration to all.

In what ways do you hope Unlock Your Mind will help raise awareness/change the way mental health is viewed in the community?

We hope that UYM will help to shine a light on different views and experiences of mental health. By embracing diversity, we highlight the different approaches to mental health journeys; ones we hope resonate with our delegates. We also hope that those working in the professional field are able to hear comments and concerns from community members. Ultimately, we hope that bridging the gap between the professional mental health world and the personal lived experiences of our community members will be a driving force for positive change in the mental health system as well as help with system navigation.

How has support from community sponsors positively impacted the conference?

The support from community sponsors is a big part of our success. We would not be able to host such an event without the financial and in-kind partnerships we create with our sponsors each year. Some things we have been able to accomplish were only possible with their help. For example, this year we were able to create two inclusive sensory spaces at the conference thanks to Origins Natural Learning Childcare Centre Ltd. and The Woods Corps. 

How can others get involved in the future as volunteers or supporters?

There are a number of ways to get involved with UYM; from participating in organizing the event, presenting at the event, volunteering to help with fundraisers/community outreach/at the event, or partnering with us as an organization. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to us at unlockyourmindmhc@gmail.com or visit our website unlockyourmindmhc.com 

What has been most rewarding through this experience?

The most rewarding part of this experience has definitely been the impact we hear from our delegates. Knowing that UYM is meeting our goals as an event and making a positive difference in our community has been such a warm feeling that we hope to keep going for years to come. 


To learn more about the UNB Associated Alumni sponsorship program, visit our website.