Student, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Paul Irving has spent over seven years using his professional expertise and personal story to advance mental health awareness and promotion within BC. Paul’s lived experience motivates and guides his work on mental health projects that support children, youth and families in BC.
While it isn’t always easy for young people to seek help for their mental health and wellness, Paul’s work in provincial mental health literacy and health promotion has broken down barriers and encouraged youth to share their challenges and connect with the resources they need. In addition, his work with educators, family members and community service providers has guided support workers on how to support the young people in their lives.
After joining the BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) Health Literacy Team as a youth, Paul supported the planning and delivery of a provincial mental health youth summit for high school students from across the province. He also helped communities across BC host their own events that were tailored to youth in their region – generating lasting impacts locally.
Paul additionally co-presented 13 workshops across BC on mental health literacy along with members of the BCCH Health Literacy Team. His story, which helped remove stigma around mental health, connected with participants and was frequently cited as the most impactful part of the workshops.
Paul’s impact as a mental health champion goes beyond the audiences that he was able to reach in person. He served as a key advisor on the development of a youth-specific mindfulness app called Breathr, which was developed by the BCCH Health Literacy Team and the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre. He’s also been able to share his story beyond geographic boundaries through the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre podcast, where he was recently featured as a guest.
While no longer involved with the BCCH Health Literacy Team in a formal role, Paul continues to share his story and contribute to mental health awareness projects.
Paul’s work on mobile apps, summits, presentations, websites, podcasts and other initiatives has reached countless patients and families, and his personal story will continue to empower and inspire youth in need for years to come.