"I first thought of the possibility of a career in mental health towards the end of my first year in university. I was enrolled in an International Studies program at the time, and I decided I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to have meaningful, face-to-face contact with other people every single day, so I switched to the Psychology program. I always had an interest in learning about the brain, the body, and human behavior, though – this might have been fuelled by my time spent as a theater kid I was always trying to figure out the possible back stories of the characters I played on stage.
What inspires me is continuously evolving. Presently, career-wise, it’s the resilience I so often see in my clients. On a personal level, it’s the amazement I have with my body and the physical strength and stamina it’s capable of – I started taking care of the fitness side of myself last summer after a couple of years of neglecting it.
With initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk and Mental Health Week activities in communities across Canada, I don’t always think mental health is overlooked by people, as these types of things get the general population posting to their social media feeds and, hopefully, conversing with their peers. But generally, I think it might be difficult for someone to truly understand, say, depression or psychosis if they haven’t experienced it first-hand, or if they aren’t close to someone who’s gone through mental health struggles. I think that for us to develop a deeper understanding of topics in mental health, we need to accept the discomfort that sometimes comes with meaningful discussion.
It’s important to be realistic with yourself; to take mental health “time outs” and to practice self-care, no matter how simple that may look for you. Congratulate yourself on getting out of bed and showering. Thank your body for accepting a nutritious meal it maybe really didn’t want to eat. You’ve got to be kind to yourself. Keep moving forward, because recovery, happiness, and fulfillment are absolutely possible."