Olivia Heffernan is a passionate advocate for youth mental health. She has been working and volunteering in the mental health field since 2010 as a youth advocate, youth engagement facilitator, and child and youth worker. Olivia currently attends school in Amherst, New York where she is pursuing her Master of Social Work degree at Daemen College.
Olivia’s personal experiences have led her to recognize the critical role young people must play in the creation of a mental health system that works well for everyone. Her youth engagement and mentorship work with The New Mentality underscores her commitment to getting youth involved in system change in ways that are meaningful, creative, and with respect to personal safety. As a youth engagement facilitator and advocate, Olivia vocalized her own lived experience with mental health and substance abuse issues and the experiences of other youth to inform research and system change. Olivia’s role took her across Canada to present and provide training to service providers regarding the importance of youth engagement and how to do it respectfully and effectively.