It’s November!  I hope you enjoyed the extra daylight-savings hour last weekend!  ⏰

Did you have a chance to listen to last week’s podcast ?TALKING MONEY?  If yes, had you had any conversations with your parents or your partner or your children about money? Thanks to guest expert Kelly Harper for sharing her advice to make these conversations much easier!

This week we are also encouraging conversations – some of the most significant conversations you can have! Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, teacher &/or coach, you can have a huge impact with kids and mental health.

Let’s do this…

? The Podcast:

“Talking YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH with Nicole German, founder, The Maddie Project


Youth mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression are common. Although mental health is still a taboo topic, you may  have noticed that mental health is being talked about more and more these days, thanks in part to our guest expert for this episode, Nicole German

Maddie & her mom, Nicole
A few years ago, Nicole lost her beautiful teenaged daughter Madeline, fondly called Maddie, who struggled with anxiety and depression. (Yes, Maddie’s favourite colour was PURPLE!)  Since then, Nicole started The Maddie Project – to support youth struggling with depression and other mental health concerns. 
To date, the Maddie Project has engaged millions of people in active conversations around youth mental health and has raised almost $2 million towards the development of Maddie’s Healing Garden and the support of other child and adolescent mental health services.

Nicole German at Maddie’s Healing Garden at North York General Hospital
Nicole is such an inspiration. In addition to being the leading force behind The Maddie Project, Nicole is also a proud mom, she’s the Global Head of Digital Marketing & Growth for Scotiabank, she serves as vice chair of the North York General Hospital Foundation and she acts in an advisory capacity to many tech start-ups around the world.  Impressive, right?  
? My conversation with Nicole definitely changed the way I talk with my own kids and others.  I can’t wait for you to hear what she has to say!

Nicole German & Andrea Wojnicki

It’s tough to imagine going through what Nicole has experienced. And to watch her advocacy now for youth mental health through The Maddie Project is just remarkableNicole, you are a hero.  Thank you so much for ?sharing your story and your insights

?Shine bright! ?


? 5 Points About Youth Mental Health 

1.) Youth mental health concerns are common. One in five kids or 20% of youth will struggle, but only  25% will get access to care for mental health care, and suicide in youth is the second leading cause of death.  So as adults, in whatever capacity (parents, extended family, friends, coaches, teachers), we need to step up.

2.) The significance of WHY.  Children should be able to voice mental health concerns without knowing WHY they’re happening.  Make sure that the kids around you know that they can tell you how they’re feeling without explaining WHY. As Nicole says, “encourage kids to put their hand up for help.”  Separately, we should be monitoring the youth around us and not jumping to conclusions for WHY they’re acting a certain way.  When a kid acts out or misbehaves at school, the WHY is probably not because they’re a bad kid.  The WHY could be stress or anxiety or depression.  So give the kid a break.

3.) Three things we can do: Awareness, Empathy, and Advocacy. We need to watch for signals in our children (like isolation, or an obsession with social media, or dropping grades, or a loss of interest in things that they used to enjoy), – and then step in to help.  That help means two things: being empathetic and advocating for the child, be it at school or through the mental health system. Don’t wait.  Just get on it.

4.) We should talk openly about mental health We all have mental health. It’s a spectrum.  We all have good days and we all have bad days.  And as Nicole says, mental health is like nutrition, we should wake up and think about it every day.  She encourages us to have an open dialogue about mental health at the dinner table with our kids and their friends, just making it an open conversation. Normalizing it so people aren’t ashamed of speaking about having an off day – or if they’re considering getting a therapist.  Looking after our mental health should be celebrated, not something to be ashamed of.
5.) “Anything we can do is goodness” doing little things and doing big things will help and make an impact, potentially saving a life. 

If you’re interested in learning more about The Maddie Project and potentially making a donation to help in the quest to raise awareness for youth mental health, check out the website here.



Enjoy this week’s podcast, “Talking YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH.”

Yes, this episode sounds “heavy,” but Nicole is disarmingly open and encouraging – she is truly an inspired advocate.

I encourage you to take a look at the SHOWNOTES for this episode in particular for two reasons: 

  1. The links to many relevant mental health resources
  2. You can feel Maddie’s spirit with the photos and the colour purple ?
Let’s keep this conversation going… Please email me or post on social media with your thoughts on this episode. 


Last – I ask you to please ?forward this email or send this link to your friends and colleagues who may also be interested in learning some important communication skills.


Shine Bright,