When Danielle Sicotte was told she would be meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their Royal Visit to Canada, she thought it was a joke.
“I was like that can’t be real … and then a couple days later they announced their Canada visit,” Sicotte said, laughing.
Sicotte is in her final year of Physical and Health Education studies in The University of Winnipeg’s Gupta Faculty of Kinesiology and Applied Health, and is the founder of the university’s chapter of Jack.org — a national network focused on ending the stigma surrounding youth mental health.
A group of 19 Jack.org student representatives will meet with Prince William and Kate aboard a tall ship off the coast of Victoria on Saturday, October 1, to talk about the organization’s mental health initiatives.
Sicotte says she’s “excited” because the meeting is a great opportunity to talk about mental health issues on a national stage.
“It really illustrates the fact that this conversation does affect everyone … It shows that the Royals (care about) mental health,” she said.
Locally, the UWinnipeg chapter of Jack.org aims to create conversations about mental health through events and campaigns. Sicotte also goes into high schools to talk about the often difficult transition into university life — something she says she struggled with personally.
“It’s a huge change, especially if you’re living in residence or you’re not at home as much and you don’t see your friends and family as much,” she said. “I decided that I wanted to be the voice for people that don’t speak up.”
When she graduates later this year, Sicotte is thinking about pursuing a career in education or mental health advocacy.