As a room of over 300 people fell silent, to listen to members of Spoke N’ Heard perform, it became very clear that this was to be a fresh and engaging experience, intentionally included as part of the day’s events. Purposeful and with the aim of shedding light on the intersectionality of mental health and art in a way that had not been previously explored.

As Patrick Walters began to perform his first piece, “I Am Poem”, he encouraged the audience to express themselves in whatever way they preferred, to make the experience as memorable and personal as possible. They obliged. Before long, the auditorium was filled with foot stomps, claps, snaps and moans as the audience was engrossed in the storytelling. Patrick’s piece described how writing meaningful poetry impacts his life, passionately stating “If I ever put the rhyme before the reason, then I might as well just quit”.

As he ended his time on stage with his poem, “Feel Something”,  he explained to the crowd that no matter what ordeals we may face, the important thing is to acknowledge the pain and work your way through it. This message resonated deeply with his listeners, and his finale was greeted with a thunderous round of applause.

As Patrick left the stage, he introduced Jermaine Henry, Spoke N’ Heard’s Director of Education. What Jermaine brought with him was healing energy with a Hip Hop twist. The crowd was already primed for a peak performance and Jermaine definitely delivered. His energy was matched only by his lyrical content and the crowd clapped and waved during his performance, vibing to the rhythm.

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Jermaine Henry says, “My experience at the International Youth and Mental Health Conference in Montreal was a lot of fun! It was a refreshing experience having audience members clap, snap and vibe with me, it gave me a sense of purpose, sharing my story with you. What really impressed me was people’s openness and willingness to hear what we have to say. Please continue to be real and authentic, and remain committed to bringing diverse and artistic acts, to engage youth on mental health, from all walks of life.”

Spoke N’ Heard would like to thank the International Association of Youth & Mental Health for booking members of our collective to perform at this incredible conference in Montreal. We had a great time and would like to send our appreciation to everyone who rocked with us! If you are interested in booking Spoke N’ Heard to speak or perform at your engagement, please connect with us by sending an email to: bookings@spokenheard.ca

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