Updated: May 28, 2021
I am a white cis-female person of settler origins, and I grew up in a small town in Canada.
My journey to becoming a psychologist was a process of becoming increasingly aware of
the privilege I hold. It started out by feeling different in the small town I lived in and my
travels and education taught me that as a white person, in particular, most of the things that
I take for granted (even the things I worked hard for like my education) were easier for me
because I am white. At the time I was thinking about joining the mental health field, I don’t
think I knew that … but I recognized, for sure, that people suffer a lot in our world and much
of the suffering is not related to anything wrong with them personally. My training and work experiences, while doing my master’s and doctoral degrees, exposed me to many different people; and their lived experiences taught me a ton about human resilience; it also helped me to know about my role as an advocate and an ally in helping people heal the trauma they have suffered.
I am passionate about making mental health services available to everyone who needs
them. Mental health should not be a privilege – it should be a human right just like physical
healthcare. In our society, we tend to think of people with mental health issues as “ill” or
having a “disorder” like depression.
But what if our governments recognized that even when people have diagnosed mental health issues like depression, the roots of these diagnoses can often be traced to social, economic, and environmental inequalities that they experience (see the World Health Organization publication at:
=C87A4C107DACAD20F3E2AA34B34EC81A?sequence=1). I am also passionate about
helping people to heal from trauma they have experienced. Joining with a person as they
learn to make sense of what has happened to them and begin to heal is really rewarding
Take care of your mental health by caring for your body, getting good sleep, talking about
how you are feeling, getting help when you need it -- don’t suffer alone. You will find that
many people have similar worries, feelings, experiences. If we could each be more honest
about how we are feeling, we could reduce the stigma that comes with mental health issues
and we could advocate for better resources. Find out what resources are available in your
community and consider ways to bring in more resources if you can. If you are suffering
and need help urgently, call a friend or family member, reach out to a mentor or a religious
or spiritual leader (if you have one), call 1-800-SUICIDE for support
(http://www.suicidehotlines.com/national.html). And, please recognize you are not alone in
feeling the way you do.