NEWS: New Evolution of Wise Storytelling

This is happening now! And we are a little excited…

It’s up and running and we love it! The Open Your Heart website invites you to think about how we interact in the world, and start addressing one of the last socially acceptable stigmas – mental illness.

Click on ‘support’ or ‘accept’ and watch what happens to the people’s lives on screen. Mental illness affects so many of us, maybe even all of us, through friends, loved ones, and coworkers. We can start thinking differently about it.

For the past year RainCity Housing has been working on a project called NEWS. The project focuses on stigma that people experiencing mental health issues face every day. Now that the project is complete, what did we learn?

We learned that untrue ideas and negative stereotypes about mental illness lead to shame and isolation. Consistently we were told that that the stigma was worse than the mental illness, and that this made it difficult to seek help.

We know that 1 in 5 Canadians struggle with a mental health issue in their lives and that many of those struggles are still closeted, but through sharing stories we can begin to challenge stigma. Over 40 members of the public shared their stories related to stigma with us, amazing stories, full of real experiences and little known facts. All six are on the NEWS Youtube Channel, or you can watch them below:


These stories were recorded and edited by Gwen Haworth,  a trans* filmmaker born and raised within Vancouver, Canada, on unceded Coast Salish Territory. After graduating with a degree in psychology, Gwen went on to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in Film Production at the University of British Columbia.

She trained as a director’s intern with the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and serves on the board of directors for Out On Screen, which oversees the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and Out In Schools.


What is NEWS?

In collaboration with the Community Action Initiative and our community partners, RainCity Housing and Support Society has launched a project called NEWS – New Evolution of Wise Storytelling.

The goal of NEWS is to create opportunities for community members and media creators to come together to create inclusive and supportive stories about mental health, as a way to address the myths, misconceptions, stigma associated with mental illness.

Are you someone with lived experience of mental health issues?

“Through storytelling about mental health, I’ve learned that I am truly not alone.” – NEWS Participant

Storytelling about mental health is a creative and powerful tool for sharing experiences, forming connections with others, and promoting a diverse and encouraging message about mental health.

To learn more, contact:

Aaron Munro, Team Lead

t: 604.375.9130


Thank you to all of our funders!


Funded in part by





The Open Your Heart website was developed and built by






The NEWS logo was designed by the amazing folks at