When Eric and I founded Jack.org, we never could have imagined we’d be where we are today - about to visit with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to discuss our work.

What started as a conversation rooted in grief and a fervent hope to prevent other families from suffering a loss like ours has become a national movement of amazing young people working to end the silence that surrounds mental health. We’re so thrilled for our student leaders to represent the Jack.org network and to give this vital cause the international attention it so rightly deserves.

People often assume I’ve chosen to champion this cause because I’m Jack’s mum. While the loss of our beautiful son definitely started me on this path, I continue for so many reasons. I continue because I’m Ben and Julia’s mum, too. I continue because I’m an aunt, godmother and friend. I continue because of the 2,500 young leaders who make up Jack.org, and the thousands they’ll reach with their message. All of these young people, and all of the young people who come after them, deserve to be able to reach out for help when they need it, without shame or fear. And that’s the future we’re working towards.

Over the past six years, we’ve seen Jack.org grow from a memorial fund at Kids Help Phone, to a partnership with Queen’s University into a thriving national charity. As of today, there are 50 trained youth speakers, more than a dozen youth summits Canada-wide and more than 100 Jack Chapters located at high schools, colleges and universities across the country. And our network gets stronger and louder every day. 

Eric and I are so honoured for Jack.org to have been selected to represent the mental health sector and to discuss the transformational work our young leaders do across Canada. Our student network will keep this conversation going long past October 1st – join them in raising their voices for my Jack and for all the young people you love.

Sandra Hanington is Jack’s mother, co-founder of Jack.org and President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.

Sandra has experience on both...