Turning Point: How Students in Saskatchewan Are Encouraging Conversations About Mental Health

© Photos courtesy of Turning Point

By Allie Murray

What started as a school project turned into an entrepreneurial journey for Logan Curle and Tayson Smith: two students in Saskatchewan who founded Turning Point, a clothing brand dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and money for mental health initiatives.

In their Grade 12 entrepreneurship class, the students were tasked with creating a business to help them learn the skills to start a business. Curle and Smith worked alongside two other students—Rianne Renner, and Skyler Briere—and when they began working, they knew they wanted to make an impact.

“We knew we wanted our business to bring awareness and support to mental health and suicide prevention in one way or another,” co-founder Curle explained. “The reason we wanted to bring awareness to this topic is because every one of the founders of Turning Point have had their own personal experiences with suicide and the devastation that comes along with it.”

The business sells sweatshirts with the branded phrase, chosen to represent the brand because most suicide survivors describe their experience as a “turning point” in their life.

When Turning Point became more than a class assignment and turned into a business, they found a local charity that aligned with their mission to give back to. They partnered with The Johnny Z Healthy Minds Foundation, a charity founded in memory of Johnny Ziegler, who passed away from suicide in 2020. Johnny was an alumnus of the Turning Point team’s high school—Miller Comprehensive High School in Regina, SK—and a well-known person in their community.

“The Johnny Z Healthy Minds Foundation supports foundations and organisations that bring awareness to mental health, they also fund therapeutic treatments for people who are unable to afford it,” Curle said, noting the organization has recently focused its treatments around grief, trauma, and PTSD counselling. “They help bring education to the topic of mental health, hoping to end the stigma around it and start the conversation.”

turning point
© Photo Courtesy of Turning Point

With their hoodies, they donate 20 percent of all profits, and earlier this year, they were able to donate more than $2000 to the cause.

Similarly, they partnered with the Jaxon MacDonald Foundation, releasing a limited edition hoodie that Jaxon designed before he died, “He wanted to create a brand that promoted mental health before he died, which is like what Turning Point has created. That is why we are honoured to be continuing his legacy, even if it’s just in a small way,” Curle said.

Going forward, the business hopes to further their conversation around mental health. They are expanding to offer shipping worldwide, and some stores have shared interest in stocking Turning Point merchandise in-store.

“First and foremost for our future we hope to make a difference in the mental health of people all around the world, whether it’s through our donations or our social media,” Curle explained. “We are just trying to make a difference.”

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