Lend Me Your Ears
We have survived. We are alive. Yet, we still feel unrest and uneasy from the continued pandemic. There is fear and uncertainty, especially for our youth who have walked through two-and-a-half years of this Covid-19 pandemic. Never before has talking about mental health been this essential. Never before has taking action been more imperative when it comes to taking care of our minds. Our brains are invaluable. They are the control centre of the whole body. Let’s talk. Let’s discuss. Let’s be proactive.
I am a mental illness advocate, survivor, author, motivational speaker, and teacher. Since 2013, I have had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to students throughout Ontario about my story of hope, resilience, and 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 & 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 balanced mental health (mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and social)
- Educating and understanding mental illness
- 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. The earlier the intervention, the more effective the results. An individual can return to doing what they do best in their walk of life.
- See the person, NOT the illness
- Pain is pain, body or brain, it is all the same
- The gift of acceptance, compassion, empathy, and 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)
- Inspiring hope, resilience, and healing (the science behind the belief that one can heal)
- Healing mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially
- Finding purpose and meaning beyond suffering
- You are never alone
Reading & Writing
- The timeless gifts of writing and reading
- Reading and 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
Unfortunately, we are not through this pandemic. Our hospitals are overwhelmed with many of our youth and infections are still prevalent. It is for this reason I am not visiting schools in person as I do not want to host any gatherings that will increase the risk of infection or long-term ramifications for those attending. My talks are solely VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS. For this reason, I am not hosting the WRITING WORKSHOP at this time.
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.
[ONLY APPLICABLE FOR IN-SCHOOL VISITS] 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”. Signed and personalized copies of my memoir “Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie” are an option for high school and university/college students. “Sally” and “Reflections From Another Side” are also available for purchase. (all publications under Books section). 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 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.
Time for Presentation: 1 hour (+/- 5 min.)
Presentation Fee: $400 for one presentation, $500 for two, $600 for three.
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.