Supporting mental health with PASS Kit

One in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime, impacting millions of individuals, families, and society in general. Which is why Co-founders, Erik van Ees and Tina Chan created the Panic, Anxiety, & Stress Support (PASS) Kit — a mental health first aid kit. We sat down with Erik for Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day that encourages people to join in the conversion to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Erik, a Psychology & Business student, and Tina, a candidate for a Masters in Public Health & Health Systems, developed the kit as a self care tool for communities to manage daily stressors, and to stimulate the mental health discussion. Everything they chose to put inside their kit is evidence-based, and focused on actually making a difference. Included is a stress star to relax tense muscles, ear plugs to improve focus, and portable counselling cards that offer reminders, tips, and exercises for self-care.

PASS Kit 2

As students, both Erik and Tina understand the extreme pressure that students often experience, and believe that students need more resources for maintaining their mental health. Their small and simple kit is intended to positively impact others’ mental health, and in the future, they have a broad vision to provide effective tools to support access to mental health resources, and spark change.

Being social impact entrepreneurs in a predominantly tech-based incubator has been a different experience for PASS Kit, but it’s the support of the Velocity community and business advisors that they say has enabled them to continue to build their business. Prior to being accepted into Velocity, PASS Kit received the support of social impact incubator, GreenHouse, at the University of Waterloo.

“I enjoy being around people who are devoted to a cause and their company; they’re like-minded and hardworking.”

For Erik, Bell Let’s Talk Day is all about people starting conversations, so he sat down with people working out of the Velocity Garage and made the following video to talk about mental health:

If you would like to be part of the conversation about mental health for Bell Let’s Talk Day, 5 cents will be donated to mental health initiatives every time you text, talk, and join in on social media.