Mental Health – Organizations/Institutions

Mental Health Presentations for Organizations and Institutions

“If a highly skilled, well-educated, talented employee or employer fears speaking up when they are suffering, there are repercussions on all accounts. Not only does the sufferer lose, the workplace environment does as well. Without encouragement to seek early intervention, the sufferer will have a breakdown. Treatment & recovery will be delayed. A return to work will be questionable. This creates fear and judgement within the workplace. Silence thus continues. More people suffer. The damage can be irreversible.”

A world pandemic separated from family, friends & colleagues. It was traumatic. Never before has our mental health been this crucial. We can’t supress or repress what we went through or what we are feeling. Healing begins now. We must be proactive and preventative. Let’s talk about our mental health.

Fear and silence still pervade our workplaces. We are afraid to speak up. I was afraid in 1998. We fear putting our jobs in jeopardy for the sake of our mental health and wellbeing. Talented, educated workers choose to suffer in silence for the sake of their own livelihood. Most workplaces are not creating avenues that encourage employees to reach for help. There is fear of being accepted and understood. Change is imperative.

A workplace must be a place of hope and healing, where individuals thrive because they feel they CAN speak up and receive help early and often. The earlier the intervention, the more effective the results. We are losing incredible people in the workforce. Some never return because the trauma becomes unbearable and unmanageable. Stigma equals silence. Silence equals suffering. Open up avenues to healing, to sharing, to compassion, and the workplace will reap the benefits. Individuals will recover faster and become ambassadors for other colleagues. They return stronger, healthier, and productivity increases tenfold. This creates a positive work environment and improves overall morale. Bonds are strengthened. Compassion takes the forefront. It’s a win-win for the employee, the employees, the employer, and the overall workplace. “Prevention is early intervention”. Remember, for any change to take place, talk must become action. With change comes early intervention, and the employee will return to work and achieve greater success and achievement because their health is on track.

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 time and time again about mental health, wellness, and stigma, but when a survivor shares their own life experiences, and their road to healing, the impact is profound. Attitudes and views change forever, and acceptance and compassion for sufferers and their loved ones increases dramatically. We all have a story to share. I now share mine.

I lived a lie, hiding my illnesses for over a decade to avoid discrimination and prejudice. No one should have to do this. We all have a story to share. I now share mine. We are not alone.

“I am not the illness. I have an illness. SEE THE PERSON, not the illness.” 

-Chris Nihmey

Preparatory and Follow-Up Activities

This DOCUMENT outlines activities that your organization can implement prior to, and following my visit, to ensure that my message is well received, understood, and reinforced. I provide employers with several documents which include mental health links, resources, effective strategies & ideas, and several ways that employees be more understanding, accepting & compassionate for coworkers or family members who struggle. Included are steps employees can take to receive direction and treatment for their own ailments. Each listener, upon request, will receive a bookmark that links to my website. On there are mental health links & resources, and a contact page where I can always be reached. Help is always available, prior to, and following my talk. Never hesitate to reach out. PREVENTION IS EARLY INTERVENTION. It is most definitely the key to pro-action.

Here is an optional QUESTIONNAIRE that can be distributed following my visit (adjust as needed). It is a chance for employees to reflect on my messages. Questions can be used for any follow-up activities or discussion prior to my visit. The conversation must continue. You can also review my “goals” on this page with employees.

Time for Presentation: 1 hour (+/- 5 min.) Virtual talks are also available.

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. Virtual talks are also available.

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.

Creating Mental Health Awareness

 

Since 2013, I have hosted over 250 presentations at schools and organizations about my battle with mental illness and finding hope, purpose, and healing in my life. My feedback has been superlative. I continue to speak in 2021. I would love to come speak at your workplace.

My Presentation Goals:

    • Educating about & understanding mental illness
    • Pain is pain, body or brain. Each deserve the same respect.
    • I am “fine”: the dangers of stigma & silence and how to eliminate
    • Speak up EARLY and often to get help & LISTEN to one another
    • Being vulnerable so other coworkers are encouraged to step forward & talk
    • Signs and symptoms to look out for in other co-workers
    • “Hey, Are You Okay?” A motto for life.
    • You are NOT the illness; you have an illness; it is not your fault
    • Be the eyes and ears of your workplace; suicide is preventable
    • Avenues to receiving help: accessible resources in our workplace
    • Utmost importance of empathy, acceptance, and compassion
    • Eliminating stigma and bullying in schools and the workplace
    • Keep the faith in God, family, friends & yourself. You are not alone
    • Don’t forget “you”. Mental strategies and life changes for healing mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally & socially
    • Inspiring hope, purpose, resilience, and healing (Healing DOES happen!)

This presentation opens up avenues for employees and employers to step forward and receive help without prejudice or judgement. Fear kept me from revealing my illnesses for well-over a decade, and this included my first two years of permanent teaching. Not one staff member knew. No one should ever fear speaking up. There is a need for compassion and acceptance for all sufferers, big and small, during a very busy and hectic year. Let’s open up an awareness, a discussion of mental health and wellness: what it is, its signs, its effects, and why loving support is crucial for healing. The lines of communication must be open, among each other, and within our families. We are not alone. Hope is there, and with hope comes healing.

We are all responsible for those in our workplace and our families, especially for those suffering from sickness, bullying, abuse or neglect, lacking the support that many of us have. This leads to suffering and in some instances, suicide. Taking your life is never a choice, but a decision impacted by circumstances within and around us (severe illness, addiction, trauma, stigma, bullying, rejection, etc.). Reaching out to someone is a choice. Suicide IS preventable. We must destroy the fear and shame that accompanies sickness. Until our loved ones and workmates feel they can safely step forward and share their stories without judgement and prejudice, they will choose to hide and ultimately lose hope. They must know, deep down, that they are not alone. Every life matters. Hope and healing is a gift we all deserve.

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.

Testimonials

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

OCSB Director, 2018

Your talk last night was extremely engaging, and interactive. You are a master at talking about a very tough topic in a very entertaining way that doesn’t take away the complex element of the story, and you were also able to connect emotionally with the audience. You can be wonderful with a teen audience and also with parents. Too bad you live in Ottawa Chris.
Iman Zayed

North York Public Library, Toronto, ON

Thank you again for your wonderful, energetic, empowering and solutions-oriented presentation! I wish you every success expanding your clientele and taking your presentation and message to new heights!
Shannon Parsons

Ottawa SALUS Community Mental Health Services

Chris recently came to Longue Sault PS to speak to my staff about his journey. He hit it out of the ballpark … wow! My staff were blown away by his story and message which contained useful, research based information which can be used to support all public education stakeholders. I highly recommend Chris Nihmey as a professional speaker for any organization interested in increasing their capacity to properly support mental health in their workplace.
Kieran Kennedy

Principal, Upper Canada District School Board

On behalf on the MHWG at First Unitarian, I want to thank you again for your wonderful presentations this morning. They were very inspirational and extremely well delivered. One indication of how you touched many of the congregants was the brisk sale of your book (27 sold) which I look forward to reading. Given all your skills, I am sure you will have a good deal of success in sensitizing people to the challenges of living with mental illness and to the importance for everyone to listen and accept.
Paul McGinnis

Chair, Mental Health Working Group, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa

I am full of admiration for you as you tell your story, warts and all, no euphemisms or skirting around the issues. It is so important to do what you are doing.
Katherine Elliott

Church Council, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa