Bright Future Panelists

Event EmCee

Bill MacPhee

Steve McAllisterFrom Fort Erie, Ontario, at 19 Bill was working in Singapore as a commercial scuba diver on oil rigs in the South China Sea. The future looked bright but five years later, Bill was living a nightmare. Bill was 24 years old when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and found himself trapped in a world of illusions, delusions, paranoia and depression. He lost his friends, his home, and his will to live, attempting suicide once. After six hospitalizations and time spent in three separate group homes, Bill knew something had to change if he ever wanted to triumph over the disease and regain control of his life. With the help of medication, therapy, and the support of his family and a new network of friends, Bill took slow but steady steps on the road to recovery. He embraced new opportunities by volunteering and getting involved with community projects. Within a year, Bill launched his business, Magpie Publishing Inc., and published his first Canadian issue of SZ Magazine, a quarterly magazine intended to bring hope and information to people affected by schizophrenia. Since Magpie’s debut in 1994, Bill has prided himself on his work as a mental health advocate to help those who struggle with schizophrenia, just as he once did. In addition to producing SZ Magazine, Bill travels throughout North America to give inspirational talks about how he pulled himself from the depths of depression to become the successful businessman, husband and father he is today. Bill is also the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his dedication to mental health and recovery. Please see http://billmacphee.ca/ to learn more about Bill.

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PANEL: YOU THINK YOU MAY NEED HELP – NOW WHAT?
(8:45am – 9:45am)

Moderator

Dr. Tom Hastings, lead psychiatrist and director for the Phoenix Program,  Halton Health

Tom 2013(1)Dr. Hastings graduated from McMaster University Medical School in 1998 and completed his psychiatry residency training at the University of Toronto in 2003. Following residency he joined Halton Healthcare (HH) where he works as the Unit Director of the adult inpatient unit, managing 36 psychiatric inpatient beds and as Lead Psychiatrist for the Region of Halton’s Early Intervention in Psychosis Program.  He has been a psychiatrist member of the Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) since 2006 and an examiner for the Royal College of Physician’s and Surgeon’s of Canada (RCPSC) since 2012. Dr. Hastings has academic appointments at McMaster University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences since 2006, currently as Associate Clinical Professor and as Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto since 2003 and regularly supervises medical student and psychiatry resident from both programs.

Panelists

Jesse Hanson, MA, PhD, RP, Clinical Director & Co-Founder, Helix Healthcare

Jesse Hanson photoDr. Jesse Hanson is a neuropsychologist; specializing in neuroscience, somatic (body-centered) psychology, trauma resolution, and holistic healing.  Although traditionally a dichotomy, Dr. Hanson’s specialty is rooted in his precise fusion between science and spirituality. He clearly views the effects of trauma as exceeding the conventional psychological understanding.  Dr. Hanson’s philosophy therefore encompasses treating the residual physical and neurological effects from both physical and emotional traumas through his unique fusion of conventional western approaches and holistic healing.  In order to encourage the medical and mental health fields to better understand trauma, he continues his research and treatment approaches on overlooked forms of trauma that result from a collective build-up of neglect, misunderstanding and mistreatment. After 7 years of clinical work with Passages Addiction treatment center in Malibu, California, Dr. Hanson is now the clinical director at Helix Healthcare Group in Toronto. After more than twelve years in the holistic health field, Dr. Hanson has developed innovative modalities that have been successful in rewiring the brain to overcome trauma, addiction, and mental health challenges. Dr. Hanson holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. @Helix_Health

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Carrie Fiorillo, overcame a cocaine addiction and is living in recovery, & spouse 

Carrie Fiorillo photoCarrie Fiorillo is a practicing criminal defense lawyer who overcame a crippling substance abuse problem and has been sober since 2011. She has helped countless women on the path to recovery.

 

 

 

 

Andrew Galloway, National Director, Edgewood Health Network

Interventions CanadaAndrew Galloway provides counselling, treatment referral, and interventions for the treatment of alcoholism and addictions at Edgewood Health Network Toronto. He is also a National Director of Edgewood Health Network. He is an Interventionist for the Emmy Award winning television show Intervention and Intervention Canada. He is an International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor (ICADC). His work has taken him across Canada, the USA, Italy, Germany and the Caribbean. In addition to his practice, he is a counsellor for the National Hockey League/ National Hockey League Players Association and Major League Soccer’s Substance Abuse and Behavioural Health Programs. He has received awards for Academic Excellence from McMaster University and for volunteer service in his community including the Harold A.D. Roberts Circle. In 2008, he was a recipient of the Transforming Lives Award from The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Andrew has lectured to parents and students at Upper Canada College, Crescent School, Branksome Hall, The York School and St. Georges. He has also lectured to students at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo. He is has over 15 years in recovery from alcohol and cocaine addiction, is presently engaged and has two beautiful sons. @gallowaySABH

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Alicia Raimundo, Mental Health Superhero & past UN speaker

Alicia RaimundoAlicia Raimundo has been described as a “mental health superhero”, battling serious bouts of anxiety, depression and a suicide attempt since the age of 13. More recently, she used her move to the University as a catalyst to seek help, and eventually, to help others. Since then, she has, given two TEDxTalks, was named one of 2012 “faces of mental illness”, spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative,  headlined UN’s international youth day 2014 at the UN headquarters in New York, and represented Canada in Thailand at one young world . She loves writing, shown by her newly minted Huffington post blog and her book: red carnation, a book on suicide prevention that will be used in grade 8 classrooms across Canada.

 

PANEL:CREATING YOUR PERSONAL RECOVERY PATH
(10:00am – 11:00am)

Moderator

Anita Federici, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc siteDr. Federici is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Midland Ontario with an established reputation for her work as a therapist, program director, trainer, researcher, and consultant to practitioners at various hospitals and organizations. She is a recognized authority on eating disorder treatment and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and has conducted numerous presentations and trainings at international, national, and local conferences. Her research and academic work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and invited book chapters.
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Panelists

Deborah Gatenby, CEO of Hope Recovery Centres

Deborah Gatenby 2015Deborah is an individual with long-term recovery from addiction, which (for her) means that she has not had a drink or a drug since July 14, 2004. She is bilingual (francophone); grew up in the Central Windsor and Belle River communities. She has 15 years of her career spent in leadership roles with non-profits in Niagara area. She developed expertise with marginalized client populations including; street-involved youth, homeless, youth gangs, sex trade workers, high risk Young Offenders and various drug-user subcultures. Championed 3 year legal battle to open first youth shelter in Niagara Falls; establishing precedent for all social housing projects that followed. She was a professor at academic institution for over 5 years, teaching in Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Departments and received “Teaching Excellence Award” in 2003. She worked with voluntary organizations engaged in community building involved in numerous organizations engaged in community building and involved on numerous Boards/Committees. She has a reputation for service innovation and activism; receiving several awards at municipal, provincial & national levels. She returned to Windsor-Essex County in 2005, taking on leadership of “House of Sophrosyne” (in- an outpatient treatment programs) in pursuit of passion for work with women and addictions. In April 2008, she completed most recent academic credentialing as Member of inaugural class in Advanced Health Leadership Program at the University of Toronto, Rotman’s School of Business. She is now the CEO of “Hope Place Centres” in 2011, and relocated to Hamilton area – where she currently resides. In addition to being CEO at Hope Place Centres, Deborah is a Member of the LHIN Support and Residential Standards Committees; is Co-Chair of the Community Quality Network; and was President of the Board of Directors for Addictions Ontario – leading the amalgamation that led to the creation of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario. @HopePlaceCentre

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Eric Collins, PhD student (Health & Rehabilitation Sciences – Health Promotion) & 10 yrs in recovery for substance and 1 ½ yrs in recovery for alcohol

Eric Collins photoEric Collins is a PhD student in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Western University in London, Ontario. Eric conducts qualitative research on substance use disorders (SUDs) and addictions, with a particular focus on adverse childhood and adolescent experiences (trauma). Eric’s passion for this area of research stems from his lived experiences with SUDs, addictions and mental illness. Eric has journeyed through recovery over the last 10 years and now serves as a mental health and addictions recovery advocate. http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/2637/ @eric1collins

 

Harrison Wheeler, Comedian & artist living with Bipolar 1, Guillian Barre Syndrome, & 10+ yrs of recovery from substance abuse

HAW! is Harrison A. Wheeler, creativity and mental health advocate.  As a cartoonist, comedian, author, and educator, his body of work breaks down stigma, improves education, and helps to normalize mental health. Harrison collaborates with companies to beautify their workplaces.  His vibrant, funny, and poignant images help spark conversation and communicate company ideology. Workplace stigma is a barrier to employees getting help for their mental health issues. Therefore, in order to encourage non-threatening, supportive conversation between colleagues and employers, the workplace itself needs to reflect human empathy.  When employees are surrounded by positive messaging, it is reflected in the overall health of the organization.  Harrison’s art achieves this. Based on his novel and his 10-year journey through Bipolar and addiction, Harrison’s honest and comedic one-man show, JESTERS INCOGNITO, continues to receive critical acclaim.  His performances inspire others to ignite their own creative spark as a viable tool for healthier living.  His show is currently in production as a web series, graphic novel, and interactive media project. Harrison also serves as a Patient Advisor on the St. Joseph’s General Psychiatry Quality Council in Hamilton, and is a trained peer support worker. He speaks regularly in high schools about a number of mental health topics including roads to recovery, his passion for creative journaling, and his cautionary approach to digital technologies. Designed to inspire optimal wellness through creative expression, HAW! offers a fresh, hopeful face for mental health. @HAWINSPIRING
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Larissa Fleurette, Recent UofT grad – living in recovery

Sarah GallsworthyLarissa Fleurette Ho writes both journalistically and creatively about mental health. Her first self-published book, Becoming Silver Girl, is her raw account of her experiences in the adolescent mental health unit at the age of sixteen. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in English and Professional Writing and Communication and is halfway through her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She loves green tea Frappuccinos, listening to music and spending time with family and friends (not in that order).

 

 

PANEL: SPIRITUALITY, FAITH, & RECOVERY (MULTICULTURAL)
(11:05am – 12:05pm)

Moderator

Bill MacPhee

Steve McAllisterFrom Fort Erie, Ontario, at 19 Bill was working in Singapore as a commercial scuba diver on oil rigs in the South China Sea. The future looked bright but five years later, Bill was living a nightmare. Bill was 24 years old when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and found himself trapped in a world of illusions, delusions, paranoia and depression. He lost his friends, his home, and his will to live, attempting suicide once. After six hospitalizations and time spent in three separate group homes, Bill knew something had to change if he ever wanted to triumph over the disease and regain control of his life. With the help of medication, therapy, and the support of his family and a new network of friends, Bill took slow but steady steps on the road to recovery. He embraced new opportunities by volunteering and getting involved with community projects. Within a year, Bill launched his business, Magpie Publishing Inc., and published his first Canadian issue of SZ Magazine, a quarterly magazine intended to bring hope and information to people affected by schizophrenia. Since Magpie’s debut in 1994, Bill has prided himself on his work as a mental health advocate to help those who struggle with schizophrenia, just as he once did. In addition to producing SZ Magazine, Bill travels throughout North America to give inspirational talks about how he pulled himself from the depths of depression to become the successful businessman, husband and father he is today. Bill is also the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his dedication to mental health and recovery. Please see http://billmacphee.ca/ to learn more about Bill.

Bill McPhee Magazine Logo

Panelists

Imam Abdul Hai Patel, Muslim Ontario Multifaith Council

personal pictures 002Imam Abdul Hai Patel is founder and past Coordinator of Canadian Council of Imams, representing the Islamic religious leadership. Currently, he is Director of Inter Faith relations. He has been serving as Imam and Community Leader for 47 years in Canada.  He served as a Commissioner of Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1999-2005.  He is past member of National Board of Governors of Scouts Canada. He is immediate past President of Ontario Multi Faith Council.  He is a member of Interfaith advisory Committee of Federal Gov’t’s Corrections Canada. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of Ontario Law Commission on End of Life Care and Pallative Care.  He serves on two committees of Toronto Police Service: Chief’s advisory Council and Member and past Co-Chair of Muslim Consultative Committee. He is a Muslim Chaplain at the University of Toronto, York Regional Police. He served as visiting Chaplain at CAM-H (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health) for three years. He served for six years as Chaplain at Whitby Mental Hospital and is Chaplaincy consultant to other Hospitals and correctional facilities. He is a member of Canadian Association of Police Chaplains. He served as a member of Interfaith Committee and Chaplain for 2015 Pan Am & Para Pan Games in Toronto. He is a Founder, Director and Patron in Chief of Muslim Children Aid and Support Service. He is Chair of Flemingdon Community Food Bank. He is Director of Ansaar Foundation for addressing poverty & homelessness in Toronto. He is member of Equity Policy Advisory Committee of Toronto District School Board. He served as a member of GTA Toronto Civic Action Alliance, studying   transportation needs of GTA – 2012-2014. He served as a member of the Council and adjudicator Judge for College of Nurses in Ontario from 2006 – 2015. He is a founder and member of several Inter faith groups and active in interfaith dialogues & training. He is a regular speaker in national and international conferences. He has served in various capacities on Boards of Hospitals, Social Services and Community Legal Clinics and International development and relief organizations. Recipients of Governor General and Ontario Government’s awards for Community Service & Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal; holds a Doctorate degree from Canadian Institute of Islamic Studies.

 

Leif Gregerson, writer of “Through the Withering Storm” – a book about his fight with bipolar

Leif Gergerson was born and raised in the small city of St. Albert which was a well-off suburb of Edmonton. His parents were kind, caring and very supportive of everything he  Katy Kamkarwanted to do. All his life he wanted to be a writer, and despite many setbacks had most of his dreams come true and still have plenty of time to have the rest of them come true also. He has written two books about his life with bipolar disorder and feel very worthwhile giving public presentations about mental health and working as a freelance magazine writer.  He currently lives in Edmonton and have just returned home from a dream vacation to London, England. www.edmontonwriter.com @533viking303

 

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Colin Hubley, heroin addict living in recovery

Originally from Halifax, Colin Hubley is a recovered member of a 12-step fellowship, having survived a devastating alcohol and opiate addiction. He lives and breathes a spiritual solution, spending much of his free time helping others to a solution that he was so freely given.

 

Shawn Lucas, RP, Mgr, Spiritual Care Services, CAMH

(bio coming soon)

 

Lunch (12:05pm – 12:50pm) Keynote Speaker

Tammie Sutherland, host of Breakfast Television Toronto

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Tammie Sutherland is a reporter and anchor for Citytv, joining the news team in 2008. As a reporter, Tammie has covered a wide range of breaking news stories for CityNews and Breakfast Television – everything from the attack on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, to the Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles. She started her career at City as a writer and an associate producer, before reporting in front of the camera. Tammie graduated with high honours from the broadcast journalism program at Seneca College and has a BA in Sociology from York University. Her passion for news started in radio as an anchor and reporter for Durham Radio and AM640 Toronto Radio. GTA-born and bred, Tammie grew up in Toronto, Malton and Brampton, with family roots in sunny Jamaica. @citytammie

 

PANEL: RECOVERY, FRIENDS AND FAMILY
(12:55pm – 2:15pm)

Moderator

Staci Weingust, Program Manager, Family Navigation Project

staci selfie 2Staci has a Masters in Social Work and a Post-Graduate Advanced Diploma in Social Service Administration, both from the University of Toronto. She has been managing the Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook Health Sciences since February of 2014, shortly after its inception. Previously, she was employed at CAMH for 15 years in a mix of clinical and management roles.  Staci has experience working with troubled youth, adults and families, in relation to mental health and addictions, as well as extensive experience in Forensic Psychiatry.
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Panelists

Michele Sparling, Board Chair (2015); Board Member, Nomination and Committee, Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH)

M SparlingA mental health advocate, peer supporter, and public speaker, Michele Sparling is a parent who has been navigating the maze of mental health services for her family for more than a decade, after first seeing the signs of mental illness in one of her children at the age of 8. She is Chair of the Board for Parents for Children’s Mental Health, Vice-Chair of the Board for CMHA Halton Region, a member of the mental health leadership team for Halton Catholic District School Board, as well as the chief initiator for Shine Out! Shout Out! which raises funds and awareness for the Just Be You peer-to-peer mental health support program for youth / emerging adults. She is also a Family Engagement Training facilitator for the Ontario Centre for Excellence in Children’s Mental Health, and was a member of the MCYS “Moving on Mental Health” parent advisory panel. Michele is trained as a CMHA-Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor.  In her spare time, she is a Partner at Innovative HR, a human resources consulting firm. In 2014 Michele was awarded the provincial Leading Women, Building Communities award for outstanding work in her community and the province. @hrisinnovative @shineshout

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Rachel Sparling (daughter), deals with anxiety and depression, and a photographer of Sonas Photography

Rachel 17Having a sibling with a mental illness and being someone who has her own story about anxiety and depression since the age of 16, Rachel is a passionate advocate, spokesperson, and volunteer for mental health, and is often found volunteering in her community. Rachel finds undertaking creative activities help with her anxiety, and in recent years has become an avid photographer under her own label of Sonas Photography. Shortly after starting at Acadia University in 2015, Rachel became involved in mental health initiatives on campus including joining the Acadia Mental Health Society. This coming September, Rachel will be the Lead for the Society.  http://rasparling.wix.com/sonasphotography @sonasphotograph @Rachel_Sidhe

 

Ravi Sarin, CAMH Transforming Lives Award recipient

Ravi Sarin has lived with schizophrenia for the last 33yrs.  The first seven years’ of his illness were mostly spent with multiple hospitalizations, suicide attempts and unsuccessful trial of multiple medications.  Having been declared drug resistant, he was offered a last chance to go to an in-patient facility in Dallas, Texas. In Dallas, Ravi received comprehensive group therapy, one on one cognitively behavioural therapy and was started on a new an atypical drug which had just been released in United States.  Over the following months he made tremendous strides with resolution of his positive and negative symptoms. Upon his return back home he earned his diploma in psychosocial rehabilitation at Humber College of Applied Arts, passing with honours. Putting theory into practice, he has been able to effectively manage his condition and help others do so as a full-time peer-support specialist.  Ravi is also a compelling advocate, speaking out to dispel the fear, misunderstanding and stigma that all too often keeps people from seeking the help they need. In recognition of his professional work Ravi has received  the Transforming Lives Award from CAMH.

Marylyn Sarin (mother), Registered Nurse, and part of Schizophrenia Society of Ontario

Marilyn Sarin is a Registered Nurse who has worked for number of years at St. Michael’s hospital on the Medical Surgical floor. However her training on the job in Psychiatric Field began when her son Ravi was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at the age of sixteen. She and her husband a general Internist took on the challenge of educating themselves about mental illness and advocating for their son and then by joining the local volunteer committee of Schizophrenia Society of Ontario to contribute to the society at large. Marilyn who initially also worked with Street Health as a volunteer RN  serving that community expanded her interest in Mental Health starting an Annual  Walk of Hope for Schizophrenia  and establishing discussion groups for families with family members suffering from Schizophrenia. Marilyn along with her son Ravi has been interviewed on CBC and CTV where they have been able to share their story and provide hope for many families.

 

Jesse Hanson, MA, PhD, RP, Clinical Director & Co-Founder, Helix Healthcare

Jesse Hanson photoDr. Jesse Hanson is a neuropsychologist; specializing in neuroscience, somatic (body-centered) psychology, trauma resolution, and holistic healing.  Although traditionally a dichotomy, Dr. Hanson’s specialty is rooted in his precise fusion between science and spirituality. He clearly views the effects of trauma as exceeding the conventional psychological understanding.  Dr. Hanson’s philosophy therefore encompasses treating the residual physical and neurological effects from both physical and emotional traumas through his unique fusion of conventional western approaches and holistic healing.  In order to encourage the medical and mental health fields to better understand trauma, he continues his research and treatment approaches on overlooked forms of trauma that result from a collective build-up of neglect, misunderstanding and mistreatment. After 7 years of clinical work with Passages Addiction treatment center in Malibu, California, Dr. Hanson is now the clinical director at Helix Healthcare Group in Toronto. After more than twelve years in the holistic health field, Dr. Hanson has developed innovative modalities that have been successful in rewiring the brain to overcome trauma, addiction, and mental health challenges. Dr. Hanson holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.  @Helix_Health

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PANEL: MENTAL HEALTH/PHYSICAL HEALTH
(2:30pm – 3:30pm)

Moderator

Ann Kerr, Clinical Director, Waterstone Clinic

Sarah GallsworthyAnn Kerr is a Registered Occupational Therapist and holds academic appointments as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Lecturer in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Toronto. She has worked in the field of mental health for over 30 years and specialized in the care for people affected by eating disorders through work in Inpatient, Day Hospital, community, and private practice settings. Ann was part of the team that built the Inpatient Eating Disorder Program at Toronto General Hospital under Dr. Sid Kennedy and Dr Paul Garfinkel, and then the first Eating Disorder Day Hospital Program with Drs Allan Kaplan and Niva Piran. In 1996, Ann accepted the position of the first Program Director of Sheena’s Place, an innovative model of support services for families and people with eating disorders. Ann was in private practice in Toronto for six years prior to becoming the Clinical Director of WaterStone Clinic, a private eating disorders clinic specializing in the application of Dialectic Behavioural Therapy for eating disorders.

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Panelists

Pam Diggins, Founder & teacher at Rootsnshoots Family Yoga

Sarah GallsworthyPam is a Certified Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist and a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with a specialty in teaching yoga to children. Pam began her yoga journey in 1993 after her doctor advised Prozac would be part of her daily life unless she “found something else” to deal with the stress of her job. As circumstances would have it, “The Today Show” had a segment with Ali Macgraw talking about her challenges with depression and how practicing yoga had literally “saved her”. Intrigued, Pam picked up the VHS of Ali’s video with yoga master Erich Schiffmann, popped it in the machine and was hooked!  The results were astonishing and, inspired to learn more, Pam began her yoga studies seeking out Erich, and other master teachers. In 2004, Pam began to teach children with special needs at The Key School in Alexandria, VA, and most recently taught in a Durham Region school, as well as at a Community Care Day program for older adults.  This summer, Pam will be attending Ayurvedic Graduate School at the Himalayan Institute and plans to open a private practice.

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Laura Davis, Registered Dietitian with the Eating Disorders Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

laura-davisLaura Davis is a Registered Dietitian with the Eating Disorders Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and has experience working with both adults and adolescents diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.  Laura is a strong believer in the “health at every size” philosophy, and works with clients to shift the focus from an unhelpful emphasis on weight and shape to a more balanced approach of adopting sustainable and healthy behaviours . Laura obtained her degree in Applied Human Nutrition at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and completed her internship at various hospitals and facilities in St. John’s, Halifax, and Toronto.

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Cynthia Alana Foster, in recovery from bulimia

cynthia photoCynthia had dreams of travelling and helping people but an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety were holding her back. They were, in fact, preventing her from living. Never taking her eye off her dreams, she put herself into treatment and gave recovery a try for “21 days” to see what it was like. That was in 2006. Cynthia has backpacked on three continents, completed a post-graduate program, become a writer and written for dozens of charities helping them raise tens of millions of dollars, become a wife and dog mom, run two half-marathons, and has continued to look forward and chase her dreams.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/cynthiaalana

 

Jacob Morris, Athlete & Freelance Producer

Sarah GallsworthyJacob Morris, a Toronto-based freelance producer and main subject in the documentary Run to Wellness, a Canada-wide running campaign for mental health. An Instagram enthusiast, loves all things travel, running, food and happens to be living with depression and anxiety. @RuntoWellness

Sun Life

PANEL: VOCATION, VOLUNTEERING, AND WORK
(3:30pm – 4:30pm)

Moderator

Jodi Butts, ED, Rise Asset Development

Jodi Butts is an experienced lawyer, strategic advisor and senior executive focused on guiding organizations towards optimizing both their bottom line and social impact. She is currently the Executive Director of Rise Asset Development, an innovative social enterprise working to empower men and women with a history of mental health challenges through business. Previously, Jodi was the Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs and Operations, Mount Sinai Hospital. Here she led the organization’s capital redevelopment, legal affairs, corporate and hospitality services.  Jodi sits on the governing boards of the University of Windsor and the Wellesly Institute. She holds an LLB and MA from the University of Toronto and a BA Hons from the University of Windsor.
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Panelists

Garry Stephens, Peer Support Coach w/ the CMHA in the Early Psychosis Intervention Team (1st Step Program)

Garry Stephens is a Peer Support Coach at the Canadian Mental Health Association in the Early Psychosis Intervention Team, also known as 1st Step. As part of Garry’s role, he enjoys building at Habitat for Humanity once a week with clients. For the last two years, Garry has been volunteering with the Self Help Alliance, now part of CMHA. As a group facilitator, Garry also volunteers as the Greeter and Treasurer at the Small Business Community Network once a month and has enjoyed his role for the last five years.

 

Sarah Lindsay, Rise Asset Development grad & living in recovery. Founder of Polar Wellness Consulting

Sarah Lindsay began her work in mental health advocacy with a spot as the first writer in the Healthy Minds Canada Supportive Minds blog series in 2014. Since that time, Sarah has become a sought after speaker at mental health events around Toronto, including fundraising gala dinners, industry panel discussions, and on college campuses. Diagnosed with a Mood Disorder in 2005 at the age of sixteen, she has been involved the Canadian mental health system for over a decade, and knows intimately what it means to be chronically ill and still find success at both school and work. Following a serious episode of illness in 2015 which highlighted the need for more proactive wellness policies in Corporate Canada, Sarah attended Rise Asset Development’s Entrepreneurship program at the Rotman School of Management to build a plan for a workplace wellness business. In 2016 Sarah is launching Polar Wellness Consulting, which will offer workshops and training sessions to companies looking to refresh their approach to mental health in the workplace. @PolarWrkplaceMH

Annie McCullough, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Faces and Voices or Recovery Canada

Recovery advocate Annie McCullough is a maven of reinvention with a serious social conscience. She combined her background in project and event management with her passion for recovery to help launch the REEL Recovery Film Festival in Vancouver, co-host Vancouver’s first ‘Recovery Radio’ show and was instrumental in developing ‘RECOVERY DAY’ in Canada which has is now celebrated in over 30 cities. Annie co-founded Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) Canada, a nonprofit dedicated to recovery advocacy in 2013. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to support and empower the recovery community at a grass roots level. This work earned her a position on the National Recovery Advisory Committee, which was established following the first-ever National Summit on Addiction Recovery hosted by the CCSA and FAVOR Canada in January 2015. The committee works collectively to promote awareness of recovery from the disease of addiction in Canada based on evidence from research and experience in the recovery movement. In long term recovery since 2008, she embodies hope for others who struggle with addiction, inspiring them with her energy and enthusiasm. Previous roles include Director of Communications for the Orchard Recovery Center and National Director, Marketing for the Edgewood Health Network. @favorcanada
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Mark Hall, Diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 20, suicide survivor, currently employed and substance free

Mark - Panel PicMark grew up in London, England and moved to Canada 11 years ago. He was taken into foster care when he was 4 as my mother had a heroin and alcohol addiction and had a very physically abusive boyfriend. He stayed in foster care until I was 17 until he left to live with my girlfriend at the time. My childhood in care and at home was marked with abuse and abandonment. He had felt as he was growing up that he was worthless and nobody really wanted me as a member of their family. At age 19 he attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of pills. He also started to self-harm around the same time and he was basically an alcoholic by this time also. After a 3 month stay in hospital he left with a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis and was prescribed anti-depressants. He had been struggling through my adolescence not only with the trauma of my childhood but also feelings of intense paranoia and fear. He felt he was different and was very timid around my peers due to my paranoia. After a year or so he had a psychosis that landed me in hospital for another 3 months. That time was also one the most frightening times of my life. He was so scared because in the midst of my psychosis he did not know what was happening to me. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. The next few years were lonely. He did not have a great deal of family close to me and he basically just worked and existed with not much quality of life. He moved to Canada in 2005 which at the time he thought would be the answer to all of my problems. Alas, he was the same person, just in a different country. Over the next several years he struggled with family relations, drugs and alcohol. He tried many different forms of therapy but nothing seemed to make much of an impact. Between the years 0f 2007 and 2014 he lived in a group home for suffers of Mental Health issues, 3 times. Again, the first couple of times he tried hard but nothing seemed to change how he felt or dealt with the trauma of my childhood. In 2013 he moved in for the last time. He joined AA and explored different therapies. He thinks the biggest thing that helped me was being able to ‘talk out’ how he felt to workers that could listen, understand, validate and help. Also not being under the influence of drugs and alcohol helped me to get the most out of my medication. In 2014 he left the group home. He does not drink or take drugs. He has a girlfriend and a step son and we all get along very well and a good quality of life. In 2016 he was hired by Gateway, the organization that runs the group home (amongst other things), as a Peer Support Worker for the Housing First Team. He was later given shifts at the Group home. He remember feeling proud that he was now staff of the group home that he had leant on so many times for my recovery, it made me realize how far he had come and also how important the Group Home is for so many people in their recovery. These days, yes he has a mental health diagnosis, yes he takes pills and it affects him, but it does not run my life, he does. He is  privileged enough to have gone through all that he has been through and then be in a position to help people who are struggling and make an impact in their lives. He used the word privileged because he truly is at a stage of my life where there is nothing that he would change about the past, it has allowed him to be here, now. www.markharryhall.com

 

Closing Remarks

Katie Robinette, Health Minds Canada