CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH AMBASSADOR, AUTHOR, AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
2017/2018 FACE OF MENTAL ILLNESS
“I found my purpose beyond illness. That’s when transformation began and healing happened. Whether you suffer or support a loved one, I want to help you find your purpose. It all begins with hope and positive change.”
is an Ottawa-based mental health and wellness advocate, illness survivor, author, motivational speaker, consultant, and teacher. He was awarded the St. Patrick’s High School 2022 DORAN ALUMNI TROPHY for his continuous mental health advocacy in education. He received The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre’s 2019 PERSONAL LEADER for MENTAL HEALTH INSPIRATION AWARD for his hard work and dedication in the mental health field over the last 20+ years. Alongside this special recognition, he received an Ottawa Catholic School Board 2019 DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION COMMENDATION AWARD for his many years of teaching, and extensive work advocating on mental health and wellness in schools and beyond. In 2018, he had the honour of accepting Ottawa’s 2018-2019 MAYOR’S CITY BUILDER AWARD for his extensive work in mental health in Canada and beyond. In 2017, Chris was chosen as a 2017/18 ). He is an active advocate for BELL LET’S TALK by reaching out to destroy stigma and to urge sufferers to speak up early and get the help they need immediately. “PREVENTION and PROACTION are keys to healthy living. If one is suffering, EARLY INTERVENTION is essential. Speak up early and often. This leads to short-term recovery.” He continues to educate, instill change, and increase awareness and understanding of the devastating effects of illness on sufferers and their loved ones.
In 2001, Chris’ life changed forever. “You have Bipolar Disorder”. Shame, fear, and anxiety emerged, and over the next decade, he battled for his life against three severe illnesses: Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Knowing the extreme dangers of stigma in society, for a whole decade, he made a decision to hide his illnesses, living only one side of his life in front of others. Unfortunately, this led to an arduous decade-long battle where he nearly lost his life. With unconditional love from God above, and support and encouragement from his loving family and an incredible psychiatrist, he began to heal and thrive. In 2007, he began the writing of his memoir, his story, his journey from darkness to light. He wanted to provide hope and a path to healing for other sufferers. Writing became the driving force in his recovery giving him purpose moving forward. It motivated him to make numerous lifestyle changes and implement a plethora of innovative mental strategies and techniques. He made his healing a full-time job. Healing does happen, but the individual must believe it is possible. As he always says, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” That’s when hope sets in and the steps to recovery begin. Health.com, as well as other sources state that “about half of people with bipolar will attempt to kill themselves, and as many as one in five dies by suicide,”. Chris survived and he now shares his story of hope encouraging sufferers to speak up and reach for help immediately. This leads to short-term recovery. He now joins in the fight to defeat societal stigma (intolerance, indifference & ignorance). We must always “see the person, not the illness”. Acceptance and compassion encourages a sufferer to seek help immediately and begin the healing process.
In 2013, Chris released his poignant memoir . This book is a source of hope and inspiration for sufferers and their loved ones. He has two other publications that can be found under the section: Books. All three books are published with Chipmunka Publishing in the UK.
“We are indebted to you Chris Nihmey for your ongoing contributions on our OCSB Mental Health journey. Sincere gratitude for your leadership in OCSB and beyond.” – Denise Andre, Former OCSB Director 2019