In any given year, one in five people will experience mental health or addiction problems. Our goal is to empower young people with tools and resources to promote their own well-being and the well-being of their community. Developed in collaboration with leading mental health experts, WE Well-being is centered on evidence-based prevention and promotion strategies. It is designed to build a foundation of awareness, understanding and action—providing the resources and platform to foster an open conversation about well-being for youth, educators and families.
Drawing on evidence-based mental health promotion and prevention strategies, WE will support the early development of positive mental well-being for individuals, families and communities through stigma-reduction and accessible and inclusive programs.
WE will make mental well-being as understandable and actionable as physical well-being.
WE will actively celebrate diversity and promote strategies that include a focus on specific/priority populations and mental health equity.
Leveraging our youth-centric platform, WE will engage youth as change-makers and leaders to promote their own mental well-being knowledge, skills and competencies, and to support the well-being of their schools, families and communities.
WE will harness the organization’s reach—5+ million students, 18,000 schools, tens of thousands of engaged educators, technology platforms such as the WE Global Learning Center, celebrity ambassadors and WE Day stadium events—to deliver the programs and resources for large-scale impact on mental well-being and the cultivation of positive human qualities.
There is a need to empower educators and youth with well-being promotion and supports. Healthy emotional and social development in early years lays the foundation for mental health and resilience throughout life.
We know schools in North America and the UK are seeking the resources and tools to integrate well-being into the classroom. The demand for child and youth mental health support far exceeds the ability of current clinical, community-based and school district response systems. WE surveyed 600 educators about well-being and found:
• 88% of educators are interested in learning mental well-being basics • 80% of educators are interested in learning self-care
WE Well-being can embed well-being into the daily learning and actions of young people. The program will equip students and educators with educational curriculum and supporting resources that foster social, emotional, physical and mental well-being inside and outside of the classroom. Moreover, the program will empower participants to build safe and caring environments, while reducing stigma and other mental health risk factors.
We are also developing a series of multimedia materials for people of all ages to support the promotion of their well-being and that of their communities, along with a series of simple actions to help nurture a positive sense of well-being.
• Everyday actions • Podcast series • Video series • Social media campaigns • Books and journals • Inspiring stories • WE Day onstage segments • Curriculum • Camp programming • Youth and post-secondary school workshops • Family and workplace workshops
Erika Elkington believed people have greatness within them and success is something we can all achieve. Passionate about travel and languages, she herself took on many challenges and was always learning. She spoke multiple languages and had seen much of the world by the age of 26.
Erika had a Bachelor of Education, a Certified Human Resources Professional designation, graduated from the Sauder School of Business in family business and earned an MBA. With her love of business and entrepreneurship, combined with her passion for teaching, Erika focused on helping women in the workplace, youth and start-up businesses succeed.
Erika was also a woman who wasn’t always sure of herself. Yet she was determined to push herself and find her greatness. That greatness, she believed, was found in being loving, caring and inspiring to others.
“She was loved by all. Those who had a chance to know her will tell you, her spirit and drive were infectious and she brought joy to everything and everyone she touched. Why Erika is no longer with us today is difficult to understand. Mental health and suicide are often like that; difficult to understand.”
Erika, 29, died by suicide on August 6, 2015; she was one month away from celebrating her 30th birthday.
To honor Erika, family and close friends created The Erika Legacy Foundation in 2016. The mission of the foundation serves to honor Erika and the person she was by:
The Erika Legacy Foundation strives to build safer and inspired communities by partnering with charitable organizations that capture the spirit of what Erika believed in.