Unheard Voices and Mental Health: How do public policies stigmatize mental health and chronic conditions?
Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants.
Whose life experiences are reflected in the structures that guide our lives? Are public policies on mental health defined by those most likely to be affected by them? Although we have collectively begun to push back on ableism, we have a ways to go to reach the full integration of all voices. This public conversation looks at what is needed for the interests of neurodivergent people to be at center of mental health policy. How can neurodivergent people contribute to the creation of structures that are for the best interest of their physical, emotional and mental well being?
Tiffany Ashoona is the founder of Kiuza Life which engages with youth and adults on the subject of party culture. She is curious about the intersection of language, music and food and how they might spark discussions amongst individuals choosing to socialize/party without drugs and alcohol. The most current project is “The No Pot Brownie”, a brownie baked in a flower pot that raises awareness about the link between cannabis-induced psychosis in youth. To learn more about Kiuza Life, follow on Facebook and Instagram.
Motunrayo Oyelohunnu is a psychiatrist. She has special interests in the mental health of children, young people and their caregivers. This motivated her to initiate and coordinate a support group for caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental disorders in Lagos, Nigeria, which yielded tangible results. Her postgraduate thesis also focused on caregivers of children with cancers. She volunteered extensively and gave presentations in various settings in her home country. She is a firm believer in community-based mental health awareness and advocacy.
Ellen Smallwood is an art therapist and art hive facilitator at Concordia University. Ellen’s Master’s research investigated how group art therapy could impact quality of life for people with epilepsy, creating a sense of community to reduce social isolation, address treatment stress, and process stigma. This pilot study took place at Montreal Musée des Beaux Art Hive and was presented at the Canadian Art Therapy Association Conference in 2018. Ellen is passionate about fostering space to address the psychosocial dimensions of chronic conditions and invisible disabilities. Having experienced epilepsy as a young adult, Ellen advocates for increased representation in clinical, community, and research settings to increase understanding of the social contexts of chronic conditions.
Rehab Mahmoud is a human and organization learning facilitator. She is passionate about people, learning, and growth; a passion that inspired her practice throughout her career in the domain of learning and development. She worked as a consultant, facilitator, trainer, university teacher, and program manager. She has a special interest in the art of hosting, systems thinking, and conversations as a way of knowing.
Accessibility: The facility has accessible washrooms and the floor is accessible by elevator. There will be childcare services at this event. Please get in touch if you would like to use this service.