New incubator participant, Panic, Anxiety + Stress Support (PASS) Inc., shines a spotlight on mental health

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tina Chan photoThe Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement catalyzes collaboration to move the needle on important peacebuilding issues such as space security, technology, education, and inclusion. Tina Chan, the Centre’s newest Epp Peace Incubator program participant, is adding mental health to the conversation.

The Centre welcomes Tina Chan and her venture Panic, Anxiety + Stress Support (PASS) Inc., a for-profit social enterprise that provides mental health support and awareness through the distribution of PASS kits. As an undergraduate student, Chan founded PASS Inc. in St. Paul’s Greenhouse in 2015, another incubator in the social innovation ecosystem at the University of Waterloo. After completing her Masters of Science in Public Health & Health Systems in 2019, she has decided to make the Centre her home base and fully dedicate herself to her venture.

Chan is pleased to join the Centre because of the community and connections it offers. Chan states,

I appreciate the Centre’s support for social entrepreneurship. As PASS Inc. grows across sectors and across countries, I recognize the value the Centre can bring us in mentorship, community development, and knowledge translation.

The mission of PASS Inc. is to improve access, add urgency, and spark change in regard to mental health resources. The Centre’s emphasis on peace innovation aligns well with Tina’s goal of developing a new way of addressing wellness.

"I wish to reduce conflict between behaviour and desired behaviour (ie. mental health habits) in individuals, and help others manage stress to build personal peace of mind,” describes Chan. “Through the Centre, I would also like to learn more about the field of peacebuilding."

PASS’ mental health first aid kit originated as a resource for first year university students; tens of thousands of kits have now been distributed at dozens of campuses. Chan explains,

"I wanted to develop more accessible stress management resources for students to help their transition between high school and first year university. My personal experiences with mental health help me empathize with others in the same space."

Each PASS first aid kit includes items and resources that aim to bring awareness to mental health symptoms, existing mental health stigmas, and healthy coping strategies. They include a stress star, ear plugs, a sleeping mask, a pack of gum and 25 “RE+Minder” cards with mental health advice. These cards are reviewed by mental health professionals and include information from academic sources. Tina believes in the power of these tangible, back-to-basics tools that offer reliable support.

PASS enters the Centre’s incubator program as two ventures transition out and enter new seasons. Growing Hope Farm is a not-for-profit farm that provides job training and volunteer opportunities to at-risk youth, and donates all profits to Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) food security fund. Founder Sarah Martin-Mills joined our Incubator in the Fall of 2016, and has donated over $30,000 to MCC since then.

WorldVuze, a venture in the Centre’s Incubator program since the spring of 2017, has also left the Centre with some exciting opportunities on the horizon. Co-founded by Julia Coburn, WorldVuze is a free platform that allows K-12 students to connect with other students around the world to hear new perspectives and ways of thinking via online forums and video chatting.

The Centre’s Epp Peace Incubator program supports a variety of ventures and is a springboard for social innovation. Exciting changes are underway here at the Centre as we continually innovate the ways we bridge campus and community, academics and practice, and faith and justice.