Jack.org is the only national network of young leaders transforming the way we think about mental health. With initiatives and programs designed with the input of young people at every step, we will end stigma in our generation.
1 in 5 young Canadians are affected by mental illness. But only 1 in 4 of those affected will get the help they need. Jack.org programs are designed to reach them all. We work to reach the 5 in 5.
We encourage and enable young people to become leaders in the mental health conversation. Our leaders identify barriers to positive mental health in their communities and work year round to break those barriers down through conversation, camaraderie, creativity and tireless community building.
Jack.org student leaders have a laser focus on drawing in individuals and communities that have traditionally been very difficult to reach. The inclusiveness of our outreach will help build a Canada that is more educated and more compassionate. A Canada that knows when to ask for help, and that has resources to offer. A Canada with a reduced youth suicide rate and a more fearless conversation. And ultimately a Canada that is more powerful in the fight for mental wellness.
Jack.org listens to and reflects the youth voice because they need, and deserve, to be the key voice in the conversation about their own mental wellbeing.
This is #OurChallenge. #OurVoices. #OurMovement.
All across Canada: 152 Jack Chapters in every province and territory; 87 trained Jack Talk speakers delivering 250 Talks this year; a national Jack Summit bringing 200 of our student leaders from every province and territory together and 18 youth led Jack Regional Summits all across the country.
We’re making change. Our ambitions are large. We’re just getting started.
Jack.org was founded in 2010 by Eric Windeler and Sandra Hanington in response to the loss of their son Jack. Like so many young people in Canada, Jack didn’t know how to reach out for help and struggled in silence. Realizing this story is all too common, Eric and Sandra became committed to fundamentally changing how we think and talk about mental health in Canada. They quickly discovered that young people are the most effective leaders in this conversation, and they created Jack.org to listen to and amplify their voices.
In 2010, Jack.org partnered with Kids Help Phone to develop workshops and presentations specifically designed for young people. With support from Jack.org, Kids Help Phone launched a successful online chat service and mobile app, making it easier for a generation of tech and mobile savvy young people to reach out for help.
In the fall of 2012, Jack.org transitioned to Queen’s University, making it possible to work directly with student leaders to develop youth-inspired, youth-led initiatives to decrease stigma and improve mental wellbeing on campuses.
By the end of the school year Jack.org had made significant progress, including facilitating Canada’s first ever student-led mental health innovation summit, Unleash the Noise.
It was time to do more.
In July 2013, Jack.org struck out on its own, receiving our charitable status by September of that year. This allowed us to expand our scope, sharpen our focus, and become self-sustaining.
Today, our staff of 24 exist to support 2,500 student leaders across the country who are changing the mental health landscape directly in their communities.