Mike & his brother Dave in the Algarve Portugal in 1997

Why We Started

The State Of Mind Festival was created as a solution to the challenges faced by Mike Stroh, his brother David, and their family throughout high school and after. Their challenges of navigating the mental health system to find support and their journey into recovery and beyond.

Our Story

Beginning during their high school years, Mike Stroh, his brother David, and their family faced many challenges navigating the mental health system to find the support they badly needed. The State of Mind Festival was inspired by their journey into recovery and beyond, furthermore, the Festival is a solution to address the many issues they faced and to promote what worked and helped them through the darkness.

Since the State of Mind Festival began with 150 youth at the Berkeley Church in downtown Toronto, 2017, it has grown to support more than 1000 students across the GTA. 

Our year-long mental health programming provides a space for students to expand on the festival and create a continuous conversation about mental health. We do this through workshops in partnership with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), among many other schools in the GTA. Starts With Me also produces public events that engage a diverse audience in creative ways throughout the year.

And new in 2021, we are excited to grow the festival to include a 4-day corporate summit discussing mental health in the workplace.

The Festival is produced by Starts With Me, a consultancy that specializes in k-12 education and workplace mental health. Learn more about Starts With Me.