“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley.

Bob said it best.  Music is a powerful element that can provoke expression and encourage healing.  No matter your mood it can be an immediate catalyst.

According to studies reported by CMHA - 1 in 5 people in Canada experience a mental health disorder and when mental disorders is among the leading causes of mortality, illness and disability it is clear there is work to be done. That’s why Past These Struggles Deciphered (PTSD) is such an exciting project.  

Music is just one means of combating stress and depression, anxiety among other issues and is a very valid option.  According to Medical News Today, Emotion regulation is a very important part of mental health and it has been proven that music listening and creating affects mental health.  Poor emotion regulation is often associated with mood disorders such as depression.

Once you’re surrounded by positive people and motivating music or creating music which leaves you feeling light, joyful and powerful, it's super easy to be the best you-Regardless of the obstacles that may appear in your path.  

Written By: Ayè Asantewaa (MSc in Mental Health Placement Student)

“Show love to yourself.  Self-care is important. In Dark times, is when you emit the most light” – Jermaine Henry.

People Believed In Me; That’s Why I’m Here

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson

We have all experienced self-doubt at one point or another in our lives.  What is integral is how we react to these emotions. This speaks to self- efficacy, which according to psychologist Albert Bandura, can be defined as one's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or to accomplish a task.  

Although self-efficacy is something that begins to develop in early childhood, it is an element that can always be improved and speaks to your confidence and the level of control you exert over your life.  According to Tahmassian (2011), studies indicate a strong relationship between self-efficacy and symptoms of anxiety and depression.  This intersection highlights the impact the low-self efficacy can have on one mental health, hence the necessity for this conversation.  Here are a few questions to help give you an idea of changes you can make in your life to work on being the best you.   A checklist can also be found at https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-self-efficacy-2795954.

Do you view challenges as tasks to be overcome?  Do you recover quickly from delays/disappointments? Do you develop a deeper interest in activities that you may participate in?  If you answered yes to any of these questions you have traits that indicate a strong sense of self-efficacy. If however, you find that you avoid challenging tasks, focus on personal failings and negative outcomes and believe that challenging tasks are beyond your capabilities then it’s time to begin surrounding yourself with positive people and influences.  Find like minded people who will believe in you (friends, family, chosen family, teammates, etc). It’s time to take a bold step and begin believing in you. You would be surprised how much can be achieved and how amazing you can feel by taking that first step outside your comfort zone.

Written By: Ayè Asantewaa (MSc in Mental Health Placement Student)

We believe in you.

“People believed in me, and that’s why I can be here…Believe in yourself and believe in other people” – Jermaine Henry


“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill.

Hardships and obstacles are simply a part of life.  The real test is how we overcome these challenges. Among these difficulties are questions of identity, which can be considered a dynamic concept in a global environment. Everyone struggles with the same question at some point in his or her life. Who I am?  The truth is we see ourselves differently in different contexts.

According to Dr. Shahram Heshmat, identity is related to basic values and the choices we make.  Our values and identity are curated in various ways. One such medium is how we are socialized which leads to our values oftentimes presenting themselves as a reflection of the beliefs of our parents or caregivers.

Unfortunately these values are not always indicative of our true self.  This can lead to uncertainty when pursuing life goals in addition to identity issues.

Identity formation is therefore important and keen attention should be paid to identifying and exploring your personal potentials, choosing a purpose in life and finding opportunities through which your potential and purpose can be exercised.

Written By: Ayè Asantewaa (MSc in Mental Health Placement Student)

Jermaine Henry puts it best in PTSD when he says;

“I promise I will be the best me- Jermaine Henry

Uplift the world as an emcee, hosting gatherings

Promoting freedom love and equity.”

And when it comes down to it, that’s all one can truly hope to be, their best self.

Steps to Justice


“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”. —Henry Ford


Studies show that social support and relationships improve overall physical and psychological well-being.  Having the presence and support of others can impact how we perceive issues and overcome challenges. In a society saturated with social injustices there is always something buried that needs to be expressed.


Peggy Thoits (2011)  argues that there are two broad types of categories to consider when assessing social ties and support to physical and mental health, namely emotional sustenance and active coping assistance.


In addition to these categories there are also possible mechanisms that can act as stress buffers.  These include but are not limited to, self-esteem, sense of control, social influence/social comparison, social control, meaning (mattering), role-based purpose belonging and companionship, and perceived support availability.


Some people are able to find support within a familial unit whereas others feel more comfortable looking elsewhere for support.  Support groups are often helpful and an effective tool when seeking aid in recovery. You are able to share your feelings in a comfortable and confidential setting.  Oftentimes individuals within a group tend to share common issues and therefore are able to relate to each other and share useful experiences. Self disclosure can be a liberating and effective experiences.


Within Ontario there are organization’s like Family Association for Mental Health Everywhere (FAME) that offer one on one support, telephone support and support groups for Mental Health Concerns.  There are also initiatives such as the Braver Space Series run by Jermaine Henry at the Xove where group sessions are held to discuss a range of problems from everyday problems to deep seated issues.

It’s essential that whether you find solace within your home, with friends or in an alternate group that you acknowledge and work through your issues because there truly is strength in numbers.

Written By: Ayè Asantewaa (MSc in Mental Health Placement Student)