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Truro-based mental health project reaching across Nova Scotia


Gavin Quinn and Mike Francis are pretty excited about the new space that’s been made available to The Outsider Insight Project.

Levels Game Loft has offered the organization a room inside the business, where they can host speakers and hold workshops.

“Our goal is to support people with mental health barriers,” said Mike Francis, chair of the board for Outsider Insight. “With this space, we can bring them together to talk and socialize. There’s a lot of support, being in a group where people understand. Mental health departments are so overwhelmed, the more we can do outside the hospital, the better”

He feels the business is a good fit for the non-profit group, as it is already considered a safe place for marginalized groups.

“Like art and snowboarding, video games are one of the things people can lose themselves in and forget about troubles,” said Francis, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD and depression. “Sometimes you just need that break.”

“I recently did a watercolour, and it was very relaxing,” said Gavin Quinn, founder of Outsider Insight. “I wasn’t thinking about a million other things while I did it.

“We encourage people to be creative, and we’re in a position where we can sometimes give artists an opportunity to showcase their work.”

The non-profit group sells a variety of clothing bearing messages connected with mental health, and hopes to get a van or bus they can use to take the items to festivals next summer.

“It’s so cool to see people walking around rocking our gear,” said Quinn. “When you see that, you know they get it.”

Outsider Insight was formed as an art collective, supporting artists living with mental illness, in 2013, in Halifax. It relocated to Truro, and became a registered non-profit group with a board of directors, in November 2017.

It has been able to support other groups, including The Truro Chapter of Autism Nova Scotia, Communities Addressing Suicide Together and the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia.

The Outsider Insight clothing line can be purchased at Levels Game Loft, and often at the Truro Farmers’ Market, in Truro, Limitless Skate in Kentville, Pro Skates in Halifax, and Renegade Records in Dartmouth. It will also be available at the Ability Makers Christmas Market, in Dartmouth, Nov. 30 andDec. 1.

There’s an online swag store on the organization’s website at

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