Mental health pop-up market looks to open up conversation

8 September 2023 / by Owen Thompson

To help people maintain their mental health as school starts up, Hard Feelings is hosting a mental health pop-up market this weekend.

Hard Feelings is a mental health organization that provides mental health resources and support. This year is the fifth of the pop-up market’s existence. It the first year that it is being hosted at Hard Feelings new location on 353 Church St. near the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) campus.

Judy Snagg is a volunteer that has been helping organize the event including finding vendors. With the recent move of their storefront, Snagg says that the pop-up is also being used as a way open their arms to the community and let them know there are resources available.

“[Hard Feelings] really wanted to build stronger connections within the community. A pop up market is a great way to kind of attract people to come in and then start the conversation of like, what are you seeking? Do you know that we’re here to help you and just get more people into the space so that we can support the community better,” says Snagg.

Hard Feelings has recently become a fully registered charity organization and its mission statement is to “bring innovation to the mental health sector that reduces barriers and increases access to stronger mental health.” To do this, the pop-up’s goal is to provide and guide members of the public to mental health resources and professionals.

“Our mission is to bring innovation to the mental health sector and foster stronger mental health in our community,” says Kate Scowen, Executive Director of Hard Feelings Mental Health. “We Are excited to host this Pop-Up event, where attendees can explore various mental health resources, connect with local makers and creators, and support our initiatives.”

The pop-up will consist of various vendors selling items and or providing resources to attendees.

To be as accommodating as possible, the event will also be hosted virtually. It is for anyone who is unable to attend due to any reason to be able to participate at the pop-up. The pop-up market will consist of over 20 different vendors which have been curated by Snagg. She says that in the lead up to the event they received over 50 vendor applications and narrowed it down to 20.

“We sent out a vendor call on Instagram. Then we sent it to different community organizations for them to share as well. And then we requested their name, personal information and a few words about how their work relates to mental health,” says Snagg. “We [do] browse their Instagram and see what they post, do their posts also correlate with what they said with us so that it’s not like polar opposites at the very minimum, but a lot of it is trust with our community.”

The vendors will be selling things like art, embroidery, ceramics and zines. Snagg says when it comes to the embroidery and ceramics they have encouraging notes that acts a physical grounding.

“Art is also an outlet. Sometimes it’s the physical creation of the objects that support the mental health of the individual. And sometimes it’s the art of the message that it shares. It kind of opens up a community of discussion for people that may feel that they’re alone in their struggles to know that there are other people around them and to visually see it,” says Snagg.

The market is being held on Sept. 9 at 353 Church St.

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