Melissa Taylor-Gates --- Program Manager, mindyourmind
With an office filled with a mix of expertise, from web designers to clinicians and teachers, Melissa Taylor-Gates and her team at mindyourmind appreciate the differing perspectives they can give and recieve from co-tenants at Innovation Works in downtown London.
“When you go to get a coffee and you can talk to someone at a for-profit organization… run an idea by them, or share a struggle, they might have an innovative solution. We can become insular within our own sectors, so it’s incredibly valuable to be exposed to different ideas and expertise from people outside of the mental health world. I think that’s invaluable,” said Taylor-Gates.
The organization started around a kitchen table back in 2004, as a DVD sharing the story of youth with lived experience of mental health struggles. After that, a series of grants, partnerships and eventually Ministry of Health funding led to where they are now, with ten desks in their office at Innovation Works, and two more at their backbone organization, ConnexOntario,’s space.
mindyourmind envisions itself as the place where technology, mental health and youth engagement meet. Their mission is enacted naturally, through partnerships across sectors and youth adult co-creators, to find the best ways to reach out to young people and make a difference.
“We fell in love with the concept of this space. We love working with other people. So much of what we do is about collaboration, about partnership. And to be able to work in a building where everybody buys into that idea is really crucial to us,” said Taylor-Gates.
mindyourmind takes advantage of ongoing professional development workshops offered by co-tenants in the building, as a space to learn and grow. They also offered their own event featuring Justin Darling, brain performance coach and all around awesome guy to talk about with enhanced memory, mental acuity and learning ability, boosts in productivity, motivation, elevated concentration, and overall well-being, paired with his own experience for World Bipolar Day.
“Everybody’s got a little bit of expertise and some connections they can make and I think it makes everybody more capable and competent in their jobs to have that diverse experience and knowledge available,” said Taylor-Gates.
mindyourmind has used CSI spaces in Toronto and Ottawa before, but now that they’re part of Innovation Works, they can really network and work with people in those buildings, which leads to more useful connections. “Recently, we’ve done our Design Studios-- our signature youth engagement model-- in the Toronto CSI buildings. We’ve been able to utilize the space and those networks around the world. So if we ever need to go to New York or Vancouver, we have all these resources and connections, which frees us up to focus on the work. It lets us grow as an organization without having to invest a whole new building and all new staff in every location. It’s a great way to grow safely and expand in a way that’s very focused and intentional,” said Taylor-Gates.