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Alicia is a passionate, dynamic and entertaining speaker. She speaks about youth empowerment and mental health illness both in her local community of Waterloo, Ontario and around the world. She has spoken at many events including TEDx Events, Canada AM, MTV, MuchMusic, the CBC and countless speeches at highschools, universities and at events around the world ( including the CGI and UN). She speaks on several topics and will work with you to make something that makes sense for your environment, below is just a few examples:
Here are a few example of her speeches
Mental health Superheros
Ideal for: everyone!, youth, young adults, those knew to mental health
Imagine wandering through a crowd, worried about people knowing who you really are, fighting bad guys people may never understand in secret to protect the people around you from being hurt? Sounds like a superhero doesn’t it? But it also sounds like our mentally ill population, who fight so hard to hide their identity while fighting their own personal bad guys while hiding in shame. Without knowing it they turn themselves into Spiderman fighting against for their own mental health. This was certainly true for Alicia and her personal story of being suicidal. Alicia walks you through this perception shifting metaphor to try and explain the strength it takes to move through a mental illness, especially with all the stigma surrounding mental health. She shares her personal story of being suicidal through stories that take you on a roller-coaster ride between funny, sad and empowering. She talks about how fighting without the mask and feeling like we can be honest about our stuggles with others lifts a weight off our shoulders and gives us a better chance. But we can’t do it alone, we need other superheroes to fight with us show us we will still be loved even without our masks, in whatever way we can. She informs audiences that the those suffering with a mental illness are not the only superheroes here, many of the audience members are superheroes as well. By helping someone who suffers with a mental illness without knowing it, most of us have been an unintentional mental health superhero. Unintentional Superheroes are people who help others along in their journeys through mental illness but don’t even know that they are doing it. She speaks about a another client in a treatment centre saving her life with a simple manic-fuelled gesture and her experience doing the same for another random train passenger. She teaches us that change will only happen when we know someone is mentally ill but we support them as we would a cancer patient. When we take the journey from unintentional superhero to intentional superhero and by supporting our masked superheroes to realize that their is no shame in what they are fighting and they can fight in the open, even if its only to a few people. Video here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blSkkwcy4uo
Engage Me Please
Ideal For: Charities, Youth, Schools
A speech about the importance of bringing young people into every step of the engagement process and how it benefits organization and creates stronger and intelligent young people. She speaks about her journey to being the established advocate and researcher she is today could not have happened without an interesting facebook message from a charity offering her more than just selling t shirts. By being in an environment where she was giving real responsibility and felt like her opinion was respected, alicia and so many other youth emerged ready to fight off the stigma they faced in every day life. She was confident enough to walk into charities and ask for the engagement she wanted. They speech teaches charities and youth alike the real meaning of youth engagement and how it can change lives.
Video here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eOogo_KDdU
One day, I will not be afraid to go to work
Ideal for: Organizations, Government, advocacy events.
All new graduates face a similar problem. Where are we going to find work? Will we like our job? What is to become of our life? We are excited for the changes and interested to know where our life might lead us. We have dreams for working for organizations that our respected and pay well. But what if an experience told us, that regardless of our skills and education we would never been taken seriously. That we would have to hide our passion to help others and create a stigma free world in our spare time for fear of being fired. That is what happened to Alicia. While working for what she thought was a dream job and a great opportunity, she was informed that if they knew about her passion for the mentally ill and her journey to recovery she would have never been hired in the first place. She talks about how now, even though she is an accomplished usability tester and loves the field, she is too afraid to return to work in that a corporate field. She shows organizations what they can do to ensure this kind of discrimination leading to a brain drain of qualified people does not happen within their organization. She teaches that while the stereotypes might dedicate the mentally ill might be bad or dangerous they are incorrect and that over 20% of any canadian workforce has suffered with a mental illness at some point in their life. Mental Illness causes the canadian economy over 5 Billion dollars a year. However, by having a safe space to discuss these issues, you can reduce absenteeism and ensure your employees return to their well performing state reducing this cost to your business. Alicia shows you how in her speech ” One day, I will not be afraid to go to work”.
Video Coming soon.
Social Media and Mental health
Ideal for: Schools, Advocates, Organizations looking to implement new mental health programs, policy makers
It’s no secret the impact of social media in our world today. We all say how quickly rebecca black and kony clogged our facebook and twitter feeds. We use our social media to stay in contact with friends, but Alicia uses it for something a little more interesting. As she began to post her mental health journey on facebook and twitter she began to receive private messages of encouragement and cries for help. She sees that the world might be ready to support her were everyone can see, but they are typing away at their keyboards in private wishing for a better way. As a volunteer with many web-based organizations she shows you the impact that youth on social media can have, the network of amateur therapists that have arisen from quick and easy faceless conversations. She calls for more web-based applications in Canada and walks you through the research and stories that prove its usefulness.
Video coming soon
Technology and Mental Health
We live in a world where around phones and tech are not just an extension or tool in our life, they are a part of us. I will speak about how technology ( from phones, to wearable tech and everything inbetween) can help us shape a mentally healthier world.