According to the PASS Kit website, mental health affects one in five people, but platforms like Bell Let’s Talk and PASS Kit are trying to end the stigma. Only 49 per cent of Canadians will socialize with a friend who suffers with mental illness, and 22 per cent of teens will consider suicide this year. Also, two in three people suffer in silence. But a Waterloo-based company called PASS Kit was founded by Tina Chan, a graduate of public health at the University of Waterloo. Chan had the idea for the kit when she was dealing with depressive symptoms in her third year at U of W and wanted to help people cope with mental health and anxiety illness. The PASS Kit comes with a stress star, earplugs, sleeping mask, a pack of gum and a deck of 25 cards that have positive thoughts to lift your stress away. It can be purchased at mypasskit.com “So our kit, especially the flash cards, it was a perfect tool to have on the person when can they experience stress before it happens,” said Chan. The Kit was made to emphasize the urgency to treat trauma, but wants to do the same for mental health to bring out awareness to mental illness symptoms that others can’t notice and give people the items they need to relax. Through the PASS Kit, Chan also wants to spark a change that will educate and inform the community about mental health and smooth out the stress for those who use it. She has a goal of dispelling myths about mental illness and how people are living with mental illness to allow for better recovery and the quality of life. Rachel Thompson, Chan’s colleague, said, “Tina entirely takes the time understand her users. That’s why PASS Kit is different. Tina and her team have lived through first-hand and also done a lot of research to make sure what they’re promoting and including products relevant for their age demographic.’’ But realistically, mental health can be troubling to get support for, but the PASS Kit is always accessible and easy to carry. The Kit was made on the stance to be barrier-free so the items in it are accessible to help calm down and relax people in troubling times.
Videographer: Jason Aissa