Supportive Minds Blog Contributors – 2014-present
Click on names or thumbnails to view all articles by a contributor, or subscribe to an individual author’s updates via RSS.
SidebySide is an educator, writer and a passionate advocate of mental health. She currently maintains a blog where she writes about her experience as a family member supporting (and being supported by) someone living with mental health challenges. She’s also a part of Healthy Minds Canada’s social media team and is currently volunteering with the Toronto Distress Center.
I have always wondered where to start with these bios, but I guess it’s always best to start at the beginning. I’m in my early-30s and I’m passionate about NBA basketball, heavy metal, hardcore, my cat, my friends, writing prose and poetry, helping people, craft beer and mental health. I am also diagnosed with Bipolar II; the clinical definition might have changed with the release of DSM V, but the title doesn’t change my experience. The bulk of my 20’s were defined by erratic behaviour, depression, paranoia, anxiety, and, if I’m being honest with myself, a lot of inadvertent self-harm and self-destructive behaviour. What I learned coming through on the other side of the tunnel is that the light’s there, it’s not a myth, and it’s worth reaching towards.
Joanna Kay is a writer in New York City and is recovering from an eating disorder. She is the author of The Middle Ground, a blog that deals with issues that impact people midway through the recovery process. You can follow Joanna on Facebook and Twitter, and additionally you can check out her Middle Ground Musings blog.
Marisa Lancione is a mental health advocate who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II 8 years ago. Despite being stable for the past 4 years, she still struggles to find balance in life while managing a mental illness. Marisa is a media relations professional and when she isn’t fighting stigma, she can usually be found reading, writing or tweeting. You can follow her story on HMC’s Supportive Minds blog here, and additionally you can follow Marisa on Twitter.
Tawanda Chirenda is an anxiety-transformation and resilience-building coach, speaker and founder of The Willing Student Method, a program that helps individuals overcome anxiety, build resilience and live a happier, more purpose-filled life as a result. Although Tawanda is now a resilience-building coach, he came to it the long, hard way, through many years of struggling with anxiety, failure, and helplessness. At the age of 25, Tawanda was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that drastically affected his normal functioning and everyday life. Through a willingness to learn, grow and change, Tawanda was able to successfully recover from this condition and regain his healthy and productive life. Tawanda has been fully recovered for more than 7 years now and he is a much stronger person than before. You can connect with Tawanda on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.thewillingstudent.com, to learn more about his work.
Michael Mitchell is a certified personal trainer who specializes in nutrition, supplements and natural methods of improving health and wellness. Having experienced and overcome many obstacles associated with mental health and addiction, he is committed to inspiring people through his own example. His first book, Drug Free June: A Hypomanic Episode, is soon to be published. You can read some of Michael’s other writing about mental health at AliveAndAwake.ca and Light Way of Thinking.
Carole is an addiction counselor whose passion is to provide support to others suffering from the disease of addiction and mental health disorders. In recovery from alcoholism for over 6 years, Carole understands the barriers and challenges many face in order to achieve a better quality of life which we are all so deserving of. Carole has raised three children as a single mother and after many years of struggling now enjoys living life on life’s terms. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog by clicking here.
Cynthia has battled bulimia (and won), faced depression, and lived with anxiety throughout it all. After realizing she wanted to be a force of good in the world, she tried recovery for 6 months. It’s been years. Travel is her passion, and so is her job: writing for charities. You can follow Cynthia’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog by clicking here. Additionally, you can connect with Cynthia on LinkedIn.
Susan Mifsud is a 48 year old mother of two adult sons who has worked in university administration for the last 25 years. She is an active volunteer and advocate in support of the elimination of stigma and shame related to mental illness and addiction. Follow Susan’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds blog by clicking here. Additionally, you can follow her on Twitter.
Mark Fraser is a 30 year old man who has lived with depression, anxiety and obsessive thought for much of his adult life. Since coming out as gay in high school he’s had difficulty relating to others in his community and has experienced self-doubt and a pensive outlook for his future. Mark moved to Toronto in 2012 and has become involved in Second City Improvisation classes as well as personal training in order to maintain his physical and mental health. He has expressed interest in blogging with Healthy Minds as a means of reaching out to others who feel isolated and as a way to express himself in a positive space. Follow his story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog by clicking here. You can connect with Mark on Twitter or Facebook.
Elena is a 21 year-old college student, sales associate, and volunteer living with depression and generalized & social anxiety. Formally diagnosed with social anxiety in high school, Elena has struggled with it for the majority of her life. During her first year of university she experienced high levels of anxiety and had her first major depressive episode, which was followed by another the following year. Since then she has been recovered and focuses on her recovery daily. She currently runs a tumblr blog, where she shares inspirational quotes, images, and tips to help others with their recovery. Follow Elena’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog by clicking here.
L. Song is a middle aged professional who has been struggling with Bipolar Disorder II since her teens. After finally being properly diagnosed and prescribed the correct medication at forty-four, she has dedicated herself to helping others who suffer from the stigma of mental illness through her work. To try to make a difference, L. Song supports organizations such as Mood Disorders Society of Canada, CAMH, as well as HMC. As an avid “horse person,” she also follows and contributes to a Facebook page, Riders Against Mental Illness Stigma. She plans to someday work with people and horses in a therapeutic capacity and publish a book about her experiences living and recovering from the disorder. You can follow her story on HMC’s Supportive Minds blog here.
Sarah Lindsay is in her mid-twenties and lives with bipolar disorder. In additional to writing here, Sarah also blogs about her experiences on her own website. Follow Sarah’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog by clicking here, or additionally you can follow her on Twitter.
Mental Vagabond is a 24 year old who suffered from psychosis and delusional disorder. He is currently receiving mental health treatment and is on the road to a full recovery. He hopes to share his experiences to help those who may be going through similar problems to learn that they are not alone and that there is hope. Follow his story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog here.
Ashley Martin is a social justice and mental health advocate living with MS. Ashley has found an outlet to help others and by writing about her experiences both here and for the MS Society of Canada. Follower her journey on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog by clicking here. Additionally, you can follow Ashley on Twitter.