On August 5, I was on a panel about mental health and disability. It was hosted by Healthy Minds Canada, a charity that raises awareness about mental health and addictions and supports research and education. The panel was the second in a series of Lunch and Learns hosted by the charity. I was one of two panelists, and the panel was moderated by Paul Rosen, a Canadian Paralympic athlete and motivational speaker.
I was pretty confident about sharing my story because I had done it a couple of years before at the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy's conference. The first time I shared my story was a bit scary. It was hard for me to know what to include since I wanted to be honest without getting too personal. People showed me how to balance this, which helped me to gain confidence in my boundaries.
Although it wasn't planned, I ended up being on the panel with a really good friend. We used to be neighbours, and she was there for me when I was going through my worst mental health crisis. It meant a lot to me that we were able to do this together.
The presentation was well received. People seemed to be very interested in what we had to say. I am very grateful to the people who organized the event and am hopeful that this will be the first of many opportunities to get the discussion of disability and mental health going.