Jessie Cullum is a bright and dedicated grade twelve student at Charles P. Allen High School. She’s a prominent member of the school’s Health Action and Jack.Org committee, a national organization that aims to decrease stigma and increase learning around mental health. In the summer, she has the idyllic job of a lifeguard at Bedford Lions Pool. Recently, Jessie helped organize a week-long mental health event at her school driven by a passion to eradicate stigma surrounding mental illness, because Jessie herself lives with Bipolar Disorder.
If things had played out differently, this mental health event would not have happened. Just two years ago, Jessie attempted to end her own life. Since that day she has worked tirelessly to manage her symptoms all the while helping create a mental health movement within her school community. Working with her fellow Jack.org members, Jessie has helped organize a Mental Health Week featuring speakers, workshops and activities. She continually advocates for the appropriate use of language about mental illness, and encourages others to further their understanding of mental disorders.
“Jessie will continue to do amazing work in the field of mental health as she graduates from high school,” says Charles P. Allen Youth Health Centre Coordinator Jenn Richardson. “But the work she has started here will undoubtedly continue with the inspiration she has given her fellow classmates.”
When asked what she would say to a 14 or 15 year old struggling to manage a mental illness, Jessie says "I know it feels like the end of the world, but it's not. If I can get better, I promise you can, too."
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is proud to present Jessie Cullum with the 2019 Let’s Keep Talking Award for Outstanding Youth. Congratulations, Jessie.