Speaking Engagements

LEND ME YOUR EARS

I am a mental illness advocate, survivor, author, motivational speaker & teacher. Since 2013, I have had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to students throughout Ontario about my story of hope, resilience & healing. I found purpose through writing my memoir and sharing my story. Healing DOES happen. We can speak to students, time and time again, about mental health and wellness, and how to overcome stigma, but when a survivor shares their own life experience, the impact is profound. Compassion, acceptance, and empathy build, and attitudes change forever. We all have a story to share. I now share mine.

I speak at schools (from K to 12), universities, colleges, and organizations/institutions that are looking for public awareness and understanding of mental health, mental illness, and recovery. I host “in-person” or virtual multi-media presentations. Whether I’m speaking about mental health and wellness, my story of hope and healing, destigmatization, or reading and writing, I speak about several pertinent  themes that are interconnected in many ways:

MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS

  • The importance of a balanced mental health (healthy mind, healthy body)
  • Educating & understanding mental illness
  • Being proactive. Prevention is early intervention – speak up EARLY and OFTEN
  • Inspiring hope, resilience & healing (the science behind the belief that one can heal)
  • See the person, NOT the illness
  • Pain is pain, body or brain, it is all the same
  • The gift of acceptance, compassion, empathy & the power of listening with the heart
  • The dangers of stigma and how to eliminate it in schools and workplaces
  • Let’s have the talk: discussing suicide appropriately with youth (Grade 4 and up)
  • Finding purpose and meaning beyond suffering
  • You are never alone

READING AND WRITING

  • The timeless gifts of writing and reading
  • Reading & writing are therapeutic – they change lives instantly
  • An author’s perspective – the writing process
  • My author journey
  • The editing process. Is it important? YES!
  • The strong connection between reading and writing
  • Using words to inspire and lift, not lower and destroy

 

Opening The Lines Of Communication

Whether I am speaking about mental health, or the important skills of reading and writing, I speak with authority, combining humour, passion, and inspiration. As a sufferer of mental illness, I avoided stigma for years, living a lie, to hide my disorders in fear of prejudice and discrimination. Reading and writing gave me the courage to step forward and share my story, to make a difference. Through these two skills, we all share a responsibility to reach out to others in our schools, workplaces, and homes, especially those suffering from sickness, bullying, abuse or neglect, lacking the support that many of us have. This often leads to pain, suffering and, in some instances, suicide. If we aren’t making a difference, what are we doing? It is time for change. Every life matters. If we feel the freedom to reach out and communicate, we will find hope, purpose, and healing in our journeys.

All my presentations can be followed up by a “meet and greet the author”. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to meet the author, receive a complimentary bookmark, and ask any questions they may have about mental health and my story, questions that they may be uncomfortable bringing up in a large group. Students from grades 1 to 8 will have the option of purchasing a signed and personalized copy of my illustrated picture book, Sally. Students from grades 9-12 will have the opportunity of purchasing a signed and personalized copy of my memoir, Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie. My illustrated picture book, Sally, and Reflections From Another Side are also available for high school students/teachers OR organizations/institutions to purchase. Parents will be notified by newsletter prior to my visit. I always encourage parents to read each of these books first to open the lines of communication, and to discuss mature themes with their children.

Please note, at every school/organization/institution I visit, 25% of all book sale profits from this day will be donated for mental health or reading and writing initiatives. It is a creative way to help raise some money for the school/organization/institution.

Time for Presentation/Workshop: one hour presentation / half-day workshop

Presentation Fee: $500 for one presentation, $600 for two, $700 for three.

Travelling to your city: I would love to visit. There will be reasonable travelling expenses needed for trips that require 2 or more hours of driving.

If you are interested in a visit, please click on the “Reserve Your Presentation Now” button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page. Thank you.