On December 16, 2016, approximately 340 girls from grades 6-8 attended a ‘Love the Skin You’re In’ presentation at Woodville Elementary School. Students from four TLDSB schools and four Durham Region schools listened to messaging surrounding loving your own body and defying stereotypes. The presentation was given by Brie Mathers.

When Brie Mathers was only 18 years old, her mom suggested that she become a motivational speaker. As a young woman, Mathers suffered from anorexia and exercise bulimia. After a lot of healing, she resolved to take better care of herself and decided she wanted to help others to do the same. Mathers studied Women’s Studies and Humanistic Studies at McGill University and later created the Love the Skin You’re In campaign, originally called Freedom to Blossom. Due to the inspiring and relevant nature of the campaign, it is estimated that she has spoken to over 70,000 girls throughout many presentations at schools and conferences.

Unfortunately, negative self-esteem affects most young girls at some age. It is estimated that by grade ten, 39% of girls believe that they are fat. (Health Behaviour In School-Aged Children 2010 survey, Queens University in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada.) Negative self-esteem can lead to self-harm, eating disorders, and poor self-confidence levels. ‘Love the Skin You’re In’ is only one of the many campaigns that is making an effort to turn the chances of self-hate around for future generations. Self-love practices start at home in the first years of life. Visit http://ontario.cmha.ca/network/teach-your-children-well-lessons-in-stress-and-self-esteem-for-kids/ for teaching your children about self-esteem and stress relief.

For more information about Love The Skin You’re In, visit lovetheskinyourein.net. To read about eating disorders, please visit nedic.ca. For more on mental health, visit cmha.ca.