Monday, May 28 @ Artscape Youngplace, Flex Room (180 Shaw Street) | 7:30-9:30 PM

Have the time to visit the Workman Arts photography exhibit, Mindset, then enjoy an evening of meeting and mingling with members of your local arts community.

Featuring a community arts-making activity that will welcome everyone’s participation and a live performance by the Bruised Years Choir and others. Enjoy refreshments and h’oeuvres as we kick-off #BigFeels!

Community Arts Activity: Weaving our Network of Care – an interactive active to prepare us for our work together, we will take strips of fabric and create our centre.

Lead by:

Phyllis Novak is the Founding Artistic Director of SKETCH Working Arts, a 21-year community-engaged arts enterprise based in Toronto, Ontario, engaging young people living on the margins that come from across Canada. Working professionally as an actor, director and artist educator prior to developing SKETCH, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree from York University in Theatre Performance. SKETCH has won numerous awards, most recently the Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award for Poverty Reduction and Ms. Novak was made a Fellow of the Toronto Arts Council’s Inaugural Cultural Leaders Lab in 2015.

Tuesday, May 29 @ Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street) | 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM


9:30-10 AM, registration

10-10:30 AM, Keynote speaker

Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, performance artist, curator, community activist, educator, researcher, youth-advocate and PhD candidate (Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University). He identifies as a person of colour, trans, queer and disabled — all of which inform his artistic and activist work. Syrus’s award-winning visual art and performance art have been exhibited and seen around Toronto and across Canada. He curates and co-curates projects including a diverse range of cultural productions for diverse communities. Additionally, Syrus has presented and published on topics including contemporary art, museum practice and socio-political issues.

Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter- Toronto, often making public appearances and serving as spokesperson for the grassroots organization, dedicated to fighting for equality for citizens of the African diaspora. In this role, he also advocates for the LGBTQ and queer community, people with disabilities, First Nations – all of whom are subject to systemic oppression by existing political and social hierarchies.   www.syrusmarcusware.com

10:30 AM- 12 PM, All-together workshop: Self-Care in Context: Daily Health Practices, Artistic Practice and Health Equity with Artists’ Health Alliance

In this workshop, we’ll use a health equity lens to ask: how can individual self-care practices meaningfully support artists’ wellbeing in the context of precarious work, mental illness and intersecting inequities? We’ll take a critical eye to self-care messaging which orients daily health practices towards self-sufficiency and productivity.

This workshop is offered as an opportunity to identify artist-specific self-care practices and locate them within broader community and social contexts. In doing so, we can articulate a health equity perspective of self-care; connect with each other as members of artistic communities; and come away with practical and personal self-care strategies.

About the facilitator:

Netta Kornberg is a researcher, writer and organizer who works at the intersection of adult education, population health promotion and the arts. She is the Program & Education Coordinator at Artists’ Health Alliance where she supports the wellbeing of artists through health education, financial assistance and community-building programs.

Netta worked at York University Faculty of Education, South African History Online and People’s Health Movement South Africa. She volunteered in community radio where she learned to pay attention to sound; at an overnight shelter where she learned chess; and with palliative patients where she learned to listen.

Netta holds an MPhil. at the University of Cambridge, where she researched Namibian women’s literature. She presented this work in South Africa and contributed a chapter entitled “Power at the Margins: Female Agency in Two Namibian Novels” to Writing Namibia: Literature in Transition (UNAM Press: 2018). Always learning, Netta completed safeTALK Suicide Alertness and trains as an amateur boxer.

Social Media Handles for Artists’ Health Alliance

TW: @health4artists

FB: www.facebook.com/artistshealthalliance  / @artistshealthalliance

IG: @artistshealthalliance

Personal Social Media

TW: @thelibrarysnob

12-1pm: Lunch

1-2:45  PM Workshop Breakout A (attendees choose one workshop)

Workshop 1: Building a Culture of Positive Workplace Mental Health with Michael Prosserman

This workshop will focus on the story of Michael “Piecez” Prosserman, how he built an organization from the ground up (Unity Charity), experienced his own mental health challenges and began to normalize mental health conversations in his organization from the top down. It will engage attendees to consider and begin to design what their dream workforce could look like that truly supports wellbeing. Together we will learn and create new ideas to build a culture that supports positive workplace mental health. The workshop will allow participants to explore strategies to build from their own experiences, ideas and dreams.

About the facilitator:

Michael Prosserman found his passion for breakdancing at a very young age. By the time he was three, Michael was already standing on his head while watching Saturday morning cartoons. Since then, he has performed for over 300 audiences, has spoken at over 100 schools, and has taught hundreds of workshops all over the world from Canada to Italy to Asia to the Arctic. Michael has competed world-wide, placing first in 26 competitions. Michael was accepted into the pool of performers for Cirque Du Soleil and featured in the major motion picture “Honey”.  Michael is the founder of Unity Charity, an organization that empowers youth to be role models and leaders in their communities through after school programs in breakdancing, graffiti art, spoken word poetry and beat boxing. Unity has reached over 200,000 young people across Canada. In the past Unity was featured in over 50 major media outlets in Canada including Maclean’s, Toronto Star, CBC, CTV, City TV, and many more. Unity teaches youth to use urban arts as a powerful outlet to relieve their stress and anger in a positive way.

Personal Social Media:

IN & TW: @bboypiecez

Workshop 2: Mad Art and the Political Aesthetics of a Social Movement with Jenna Reid, Twoey Gray and Cassandra Myers

What is mad art? As artist-activist-scholars we will explore an historical and political canon of mad cultural production that situates the role mad art as a central element of mad movement organizing. By doing this we subvert a number of long held assumptions about the relationship between madness and art, ones that are often linked to the histories of the asylum and the proliferation of the mad creative genius. In this workshop we will use creative practices, informed by the political aesthetics mad art, to co-create a social justice oriented approach that unsettles the limitations of our current community practices.  

About the facilitators:

Jenna Reid is a PhD candidate in Critical Disability Studies at York University and a contract lecturer in the emergent field of Mad Studies at Ryerson University. Jenna’s academic research and studio art practice focus on artistic production as a site of critical inquiry, community organizing, and political activism. She has published in Canadian Art; Asylum Magazine; Intersectionalities: A Global Journal of Social Work Analysis, Research, Policy, and Practice; Studies in Social Justice; and the Journal of Progressive Human Services. Jenna’s social justice oriented fibre art has been exhibited both locally and internationally.

Personal Social Media:

IN: @fieldnotes_by_jennareid

Twoey Gray is a spoken word poet, arts educator, scholar, and insatiable sweet tooth. A young, queer, madfemme girlthing, her personal artistic message and wider educational work exemplify “the personal is political”, exploring systems of power through the intimate and minute. As a facilitator and program developer with CANVAS Arts Action Programs, Twoey facilitates dialogue on gender, sexuality, and consent with youth in grades 6-12 using poetry, visual art, and storytelling. Her performance work has reached prestigious stages such as Brave New Voices, the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam, as well as being featured on Slamfind and Write About Now. She is currently a student of political science and also runs Ryerson University’s poetry slam, Poetic Exchange. She’s definitely drank the sugar-water from a jar of maraschino cherries.

Personal Social Media:

IN & TW: @actualtwoey


Cassandra Myers has spontaneously emerged from the suburbs of the GTA as a youth spoken word artist. Her poetry is an intricate construction of her lived experience, drawing on her hard-learned lessons with heritage, sexuality, womanhood and family to create vivid imagery, getting you right in the feels. Her dedication to ever-evolving punchlines earned her the title of this year’s BAM! Youth Slam Team Captain. Twice leading teams to Brave New Voices, Cassandra has also swept slams at the College University International Poetry Slam and performed on Finals Stage at WOWPS 2016. When she isn’t rehearsing on subway platforms, Cassandra is taking on Toronto as a student at Ryerson University, where she is studying Child and Youth Care and continues her summer camp counsellor career. She loves loudly, eats constantly, and wants to be your best friend.

Workshop 3: Mental Health Challenges & Services for Racialized People with Sheeba Narikuzhy

This interactive presentation is designed to increase participants’ understanding about the many barriers/challenges facing racialized communities in accessing mental health services.  The session will also look at mental health impact of intersectional identities. In addition, this presentation will promote discussion on the existing gaps between racialized communities and mental health services and possible ways of closing the gap to enhance equitable mental health services to these communities.

About the facilitator:

Sheeba Narikuzhy currently works as a clinical manager at East Metro Youth Services (EMYS). She is also an Advisory Council member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Board Director of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and Constituency Council member of the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH). Sheeba is a former Advisory Council member of the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. Sheeba has 17 years of experience in working with adolescents and their families. She has a special interest in teen suicide prevention, knowledge exchange, incorporation of technology into mental health services and promotion of mental health in diverse communities. Sheeba was formerly a member of the Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s teen suicide prevention policy committee and the Research, Evaluation and Best Practices committee of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  Sheeba has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and extensive training on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. She is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

2:45-3:15 PM, Break

3:15-5 PM, Session/Workshop/Panel Breakout B (attendees choose one workshop)

Session 1: One-on-one sessions with Elder Little Brown Bear

#BigFeels attendees have the unique opportunity to sit with highly-respected and knowledgeable Elder Little Brown Bear to talk about their own experiences, mental health and healing.

About the Elder:

Ernest W Matton, (Athehsa Niohkwá:rita:a) (Elder Little Brown Bear) – Is a respected Métis Elder, and  spiritual ambassador who blends Traditional teachings with mainstream information to provide holistic healing approaches for Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members and professional disciplines. He is a seminar speaker and group facilitator in the areas of Trauma/Addictions/Mental Health, grief, suicide, conflict resolution, mediation, anger release, and Building Healthy Relationships. He is a helper and guide who  inspires living in today’s hectic world, bridging culture and professional disciplines to assist people in finding what works With his years of experience in the field, Little Brown Bear makes wellness practices and spirituality simple. Drawing from his academic background, vast work and personal life experiences, he focuses on what works to bring balance and inspiration to everyday life. He is a graduate of Canadore College and Broch university. He is a member in good standing with the (CACCF) Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation and (OACCPP)  Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists, he says that “being Aboriginal is not a lifestyle it is a way of life.”


Workshop 4: Introduction to Mental Health in the Workplace with Ken Bascom

Introduction to Mental Health in the Workplace offers a quick overview of the prevalence, impact and management of mental health in the workplace. Combining key facts and concepts with experiential exercises, this interactive session provides insights and a forum for discussion for a non-clinical leadership audience.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop a basic understanding of how Mental Health issues present in the workplace
  • Understand how to support and respond to employees with mental health issues
  • How to keep yourself and your employees mentally healthier
  • Shift perspectives about Mental Health and Addiction

About the facilitator: 

Ken Bascom is a Senior Organizational Consultant at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Prior to joining CAMH, Ken acted in similar roles at the Region of Peel and at some of Canada’s largest banks. A skilled facilitator and presenter, Ken has extensive experience in organizational development, performance consulting, adult learning and change management.  As with many who find their way to working at CAMH, Ken has experience with the impact of addiction and mental health challenges in his own family. He knows the anguish – and rewards – it can bring, and has lived the daily struggles that come trying to support a loved one finding their way. While many have maintained Ken doesn’t have an artistic bone in his body, he notes that his uncle, Earl Bascom, was a highly regarded Western artist listed in Who’s Who in American Art and inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London, England. His father was a noted amateur artist and photographer who won many competitions in Alberta and Saskatchewan. He is convinced that he has several seriously artistic bones, although none, unfortunately, located in areas that would contribute to his production of visual or musical art.

Artist Panel: Artists Navigating Mental Health with Mirna Chacin, Sean Patenaude, Apanaki Temitayo Minerve

Have a chance to hear the experiences, thoughts and wisdoms of local Toronto artists, hearing their personal stories of navigating mental health. Learn how they have managed their artistic practices and grown their craft into a cornerstone of expressing themselves.

About the speakers:

Mirna Chacín is a Venezuelan-born Canadian visual artist and freelance photographer.  In 2011, shortly before immigrating to Canada , The University of Zulia ( LUZ ) awarded Mirna a Gold Medal for her artistic achievements in Venezuela. In Canada, she has received grants from the RBC Arts Access Fund,  Ontario Arts Council exhibition assistance grant 2018, and the 2017 Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant from the Toronto Arts Council.  In 2017 Mirna received the Community impact Award by the Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto for her outstanding contributions in telling the stories of newcomer inclusion through images.

Mirna’s artwork has been shown in museums and international art galleries.

Recent solo and collective art exhibitions: The Paraguana Project, (Contemporary Art Museum of Zulia, Venezuela, 2014), and Where the Sun Rises, (Sur Gallery, Toronto, 2017), a fine art and video installation about her process to overcome yearning and uprooting as an immigrant. TD Sunfest “Colores de LatinAmerica” ( The Arts Project, London,2017-18), and “I Live Here” (Arts Etobicoke, 2018).

Mirna lives in Toronto, works a freelance photographer and is an active member of The Neighborhood Arts Network, The Patch Project and G44 Center for the Contemporary Photography.

Personal Social Media:

IN & TW: @mirloy


Sean Patenaude is a Toronto street, event, and portrait photographer. He works in a combination of film and digital processes to capture striking, emotional images that invite the viewer to imagine the story beyond the frame. You can often find him photographing strangers at demonstrations, parades, festivals, and performances. His work has been displayed at Hart House, Artscape Youngplace, the Gladstone Hotel, and Contact Photography Festival. Sean’s pictures have been published internationally in books, magazines and online.

Personal Social Media:

IN: @sisforsharp

Apanaki Temitayo Minerve is born in Toronto and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and an author, spoken word poet, actor, multimedia artist and teacher. She is currently Workman Arts Artist-In-Residence for 2017-2018. As part of Workman Arts Art-Cart Program at CAMH, she teaches art to participants with mental health and drug addiction.  She has had pieces featured at Workman Arts, Being Scene 16th Annual Juried Exhibition 2017 at the Gladstone Hotel and The Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival. and also at the Workman Arts, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, 2015. She has made her international debut at the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, 9th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition: Maya Angelou, with her original artwork, Mama’s Watching in South Carolina. Her New York debut at The Amazing Nina Simone Documentary Film by Jeff Lieberman, with her piece Nina Simone Fragmented. She honored to be the first woman of color to be in the Room Magazine: Woman of Color Issue for 2016. Her artwork Oshun Blooming is currently the face of the Grow Room Feminist Literary Festival in Vancouver from March 1st – 4th 2018.

Personal Social Media:

IN & TW: @shopapanaki

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/pg/ShopApanaki


5-5:30 PM: Peer Pods and looking ahead.

Wednesday, May 30 @ Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street) | 10 AM – 5:30 PM


10 AM – 12 PM: Community Resource Sharing Stations

Have an opportunity to learn about an array of local services and initiatives that are supporting artists and arts organizations around mental health advocacy and programming. Also participate in various community-arts making stations that will allow you to express and contribute to conversations around mental health.


The Al & Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre

The Al & Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre is a facility in the Family and Community Medicine Program at Toronto Western Hospital. Equipped with an Acoustic Studio and Movement Assessment Studio with a sprung floor to aid in diagnosis and treatment. The Centre is the only clinic of its kind in Canada that specializes in serving the entire artistic community.

The Centre is an integrative outpatient clinic offering both medical and complementary care. Clinic services include acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, craniosacral therapy, registered massage therapy, MBCT group programs, naturopathic medicine, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, and shiatsu therapy. There is also a Nurse Practitioner to care for all patients and access to a family physician.

Art Starts  + Jacqueline Comrie Garrido (community arts activation – details coming soon!)

Art Starts: For 25 years, Art Starts programs have benefited thousands of people living in marginalized Toronto neighbourhoods by providing a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for self-expression and creative collaboration. We afford opportunities for vulnerable people of all ages to contribute to the creative ecology of their neighbourhoods, using the arts to help end the negative cycles associated with marginalization and poverty.    www.artstartsto.com

Jacqueline Comrie Garrido is a Panamanian fine artist, whose vibrant body of work has been transforming dull indoor and outdoor spaces for communities in Canada and abroad.  As paintings, prints or large scale murals, Jacquie uses colour and movement as primary elements to depict the dynamic, inevitable natural process of all beings: alchemy and transformation. Dedicated to the belief that art ignites change, and in today’s overwhelming state of the world, her mission is not only to strengthen communities through art, but to create positive, inclusive spaces in service of social healing, mental health and wellness.    www.jacquiecomrie.com

Hard Feelings is a non-profit social enterprise. Our mission is to reduce barriers and increase access to mental health supports and resources through an innovative community of practice. We operate as both a retail storefront and low-cost counselling practice. The storefront is a friendly and welcoming place where anyone can come and spend some time – browse our selection of products, strike up a conversation about mental health and get recommendations for services or appropriate resources. As a social enterprise, profits from the store go back into supporting the work we do. Every purchase at Hard Feelings helps us help others.  www.hardfeelings.org

Civic Action: For over a decade, CivicAction has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle the biggest challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Every four years, CivicAction holds a summit to put our finger on the pulse of our region to set our agenda for the next four years. Out of the summit, CivicAction builds partnerships and takes action through campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region and make it a better place to live. Civic Action will be on-site to share and gather information for their workplace mental health program, MindsMattermindsmatter.civicaction.ca

Community Arts Activation: Self-Portraits

On a colour piece of paper, participants will be encouraged to draw a portrait of themselves Including feelings, colour that represents them, things they like and dislike and the feelings or experiences. Participants are encouraged to explore their inner self, expressing and illustrating who they are and what colours represent them, favourite things, experiences, people they love, and colours they love/make them feel positive, etc. Once completed they will be invited to paste their finished self-portrait on to a large scale surface or collective work of art.

Neighbourhood Arts Network (community arts activation – details coming soon!) Neighbourhood Arts Network is a Toronto-wide network of over 1700 members, including artists, arts organizations, cultural workers and community agencies working throughout the City of Toronto: from North York to the downtown core, from Etobicoke to Scarborough. We catalyze new discussions and relationships. We collect research and share information. We help artists and community organizations do what they do best: enrich Toronto and transform it into a more vibrant, beautiful, liveable city. www.neighbourhoodartsnetwork.org

Community Arts Activation: The Wobbly Web We Weave

Using the web is simple. On the top horizontal axis of the web there are different emotions listed, on the left and right vertical axis there are numbers listed from 1 to 10 with 1 representing the least amount of intensity and 10 representing the greatest amount of intensity. The idea is to examine the emotion listed on the web and tie string around the peg that you feel represents how strongly you have been feeling that emotion. For example, if I have been feeling moderately happy today I would take a string and tie it around the 5th peg under happy. The idea is to do this for all of the pegs three separate times with three different colours of string to reflect upon how you have been feeling today, throughout the week, and throughout the month. Simply choose which colour you would like to represent your day, your week, and your month; there are no set colours and this is to allow the user both some ambiguity and autonomy when it comes to reflecting upon their mental health. Then guide the string along the board.

The rest is really up to you. You can start from the left or the right side of the board, you can decide to evaluate your day, week, and month all at once or one at a time – be creative! At the end the web will look like a piece of art, just as we all are.

Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association OEATA’s Mission is to develop, steward and promote the Expressive Arts Therapy profession and the interests of Expressive Arts Therapists. As the united voice of OEATA members, the organization serves to uphold high standards of competent and ethical practice in alignment with the Ontario College of Registered Psychotherapists. OEATA’s Vision is for people everywhere to share in the creative powers of expressive arts to transform their inner worlds and communities. OEATA recognizes and fosters the essential values of imagination and creative expression through the arts in psychotherapy, education, social justice and community development. What is Expressive Arts Therapy? Expressive Arts Therapy is an arts-based approach to psychotherapy that engages and supports the client through a process of creative expression to help them reconnect with their inner resources. Expressive Arts Therapists offer interventions that integrate the use of visual arts, creative writing, drama, music, voice and movement as catalysts for personal inquiry, discovery and growth.  More about Expressive Arts Therapy.

12-1 PM: Lunch (included with registration)

1-2:45 PM, Workshop Breakout A (attendees choose one workshop)

Workshop 1: Sacred Aboriginal Healing: Elder Little Brown Bear/Michael Garron Hospital Toronto East Health Network, Aboriginal Healing Program


A talk from the heart, an open discussion with attendees.

About the Elder:

Ernest W Matton, (Athehsa Niohkwá:rita:a) (Elder Little Brown Bear) – Is a respected Métis Elder, and  spiritual ambassador who blends Traditional teachings with mainstream information to provide holistic healing approaches for Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members and professional disciplines. He is a seminar speaker and group facilitator in the areas of Trauma/Addictions/Mental Health, grief, suicide, conflict resolution, mediation, anger release, and Building Healthy Relationships. He is a helper and guide who  inspires living in today’s hectic world, bridging culture and professional disciplines to assist people in finding what works With his years of experience in the field, Little Brown Bear makes wellness practices and spirituality simple. Drawing from his academic background, vast work and personal life experiences, he focuses on what works to bring balance and inspiration to everyday life. He is a graduate of Canadore College and Broch university. He is a member in good standing with the (CACCF) Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation and (OACCPP)  Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists, he says that “being Aboriginal is not a lifestyle it is a way of life.”

Workshop 2: Arts and Accommodations

This presentation is on the power of arts engagement in community, stories of accommodations and artful activity. Presenting some learning from the Dream House Project and other stories from the SKETCH studios.

About the facilitators:

Kamika Peters is a multi-media artist working in community arts. Currently, they are developing their skills as a ceramist, a performer, and a creative director.  They are interested in their co-existence with oppressive social constructs. Some sites of this exploration are Sketch Working Arts and the Drag Musical. Unconditional housing, access to clinical therapy, cultural activities within non-clinical community spaces, and inter-generational mentorship are some of the ways they believe allyship for community can happen.

Sue Cohen, an environmental community-engaged artist and painter on the SKETCH Arts Production team, will support the coordination and liaison between this project and SKETCH’s other creative studio programs for young people. Sue Cohen has produced and designed community-engaged arts with SKETCH since its inception in 1996, with Triluma, Spiral Garden, and Bloorview MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre. Sue has lived experience, coordinates youth leadership projects in addition to maintaining an individual arts practice.

Workshop 3: Storytelling for Healing with Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA) with Dinah Laprairie

Telling our stories brings us perspective, understanding and healing. In this workshop, Dinah will share her experiences working closely with members at Northern Initiative for Social Action in Sudbury, Ontario who wanted to publish their memoirs about living with mental illness, trauma or other distressing circumstances. Dinah will explain the process she used to mentor these new writers, from the initial idea through the writing and self-publishing stages. Two simple tools will be introduced to help you start your own memoir or to help someone else begin their project.

About the facilitator:

Dinah Laprairie joined NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action in 2003, a peer-run organization in Sudbury, Ontario, dedicated to people with lived experience of mental illness. She has worked one-on-one with peers at NISA on their poetry, fiction and memoirs, and has assisted NISA’s artists in exhibiting their work at NISA’s annual exhibitions in the community. In her role as Editor of literary magazine Open Minds Quarterly for 13 years (see www.openmindsquarterly.com), she also worked with peers across the globe who write about the particular challenges of a life with mental illness. Dinah was one of the editors of the 2013 anthology In New Light: The many paths of identity, struggle and mental illness, which featured selections from Open Minds Quarterly and contributors from far and wide. As a peer in mental health, Dinah has experienced the effects of depression and anxiety. In late 2016, she moved into leadership at NISA as Executive Director.

Work Social Media:

FB: www.nisa.on.ca/nisasudbury

TW: @NISANorthern

Personal Social Media:

Twitter & IN:@DinahLaprairie

2:45-3:15 PM, Break

3:15-5 PM, Session/Workshop Breakout B (attendees choose one workshop)

Session 1: One-on-one with Elder Little Brown Bear

#BigFeels attendees have the unique opportunity to sit with highly-respected and knowledgeable Elder Little Brown Bear to talk about their own experiences, mental health and healing.

Workshop: science+art: bringing youth engagement principles into arts programming

This collaborative session will focus on how youth engagement principles can be incorporated into arts spaces to better support young people and their mental health experiences. The facilitation team will present a short teach on youth engagement in the mental health field and discuss multiple projects that exemplify meaningful youth engagement in program design, demonstrating the dual role of youth engagement as both an art and a science. Attendees will be invited to consider their current practices and how programming can be reimagined and redesigned to create engaging spaces for young people.

About the facilitators:

The presenters will be Emma McCann and Joshua Miller from CAMH’s Youth Engagement Initiative and Ayla Lefkowitz and Twoey Gray from CANVAS.

Youth Engagement Initiative: The team comprises several Youth Engagement Facilitators and a Youth Engagement Coordinator, and is based in the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health at CAMH. The Youth Engagement Facilitators bring their perspective as youth with lived experience into research and program activities related to youth mental health and substance use.  The Youth Engagement Initiative team’s goal is to increase meaningful collaboration between youth stakeholders and professionals by providing the youth voice at all levels of projects and organizations. The facilitators also engage in conversations with other youth with lived experience in order to provide more diverse perspectives, including co-leading the activities of the National Youth Action Council.  https://www.camh.ca/mccaincentre/Engaging%20Youth/Pages/default.aspx

Joshua Miller is a Youth Engagement Facilitator with the McCain Centre for Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health; he is fully engaged in multiple mental health research and service-related projects. Josh co-facilitates CAMH’s National Youth Action Council.

Josh had been involved in theatre for 15 years and has been writing poetry and short stories for almost 10 years. From 2010 to 2015, Josh founded and ran arts based youth initiative dedicated to fostering a peer-supportive space for young artists who face bullying and mental health struggles.  He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. (hon) in Arts Management in 2017.

Joshua became involved in Mental Health through his early lived experience with Depression and Anxiety where he began utilizing Creative Writing as a medium of self-expression during a difficult time. He has been named a Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 and was recently named a Highly Commended Runner-Up by the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards for his work in intersecting the arts with mental health.

Emma McCann is a passionate mental health advocate and a Youth Engagement Facilitator at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). As part of her role, Emma is a co-facilitator of the CAMH National Youth Action Council and the Project Lead of the Wellness Quest Research Project. She firmly believes in the importance of engaging youth and families in system design and service provision as experts in their own health care. In her experience as a youth advocate in the mental health field, Emma has advised on and lead projects at the community, national, and international level. Emma is currently studying at the University of Toronto.”

CANVAS Arts Action Programs: A registered non-profit organization using interactive training programs to build a culture free from homophobia, transphobia, and sexual violence. CANVAS’ programs use an anti-oppressive framework and cover an assortment of topics, including gender identity, sexual orientation, consent, positive relationships, body esteem and violence prevention. Through dialogue and arts-inspired activities, these difficult topics come to life.  At the heart of our programming is the development of critical thinking, empathy building, and challenging harmful social norms. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of each school, workplace, camp and community.  www.canvasprograms.ca

Ayla Lefkowitz is Co-Executive Director of CANVAS Arts Action Programs, a non-profit organization that uses arts-inspired programming to explore mental health, consent and LGBTQ2S+ inclusion (www.canvasprograms.ca). Ayla has a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics in Health, Community and Development and years of experience running arts-based programming for youth. As a professional Spoken Word Artist and National Poetry Slam Champion, Ayla uses her artistic platform to explore her lived-experience of depression and challenge mental health stigma.

Workshop: Trauma Informed Care Practices for Organizations with Dr. Dana Ross

This workshop will focus on exploring the concept of trauma-informed care and its application within organizational settings. The prevalence of psychological trauma within our society is unacceptably high which means that every organization is interacting with people, including members of their own staff, who may have experienced, or are experiencing, trauma. The lasting impact that traumatic experiences can have on a person are often unrecognized and misunderstood which can result in re-traumatization. Trauma-informed care requires that an organization be informed about, and sensitive to, the impact of psychological trauma on individuals and therefore adjusts how services are delivered. This ensures that people with trauma histories are given as much choice and control as possible within a collaborative and safe environment. This workshop that aims to be thought-provoking, practical, and interactive.

About the facilitator:

Dana Ross, M.D. is a psychiatrist in the Trauma Therapy Program at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada. The Trauma Therapy Program specializes in treating those who have experienced childhood interpersonal trauma. She practices trauma-focused individual and group therapy, and is a lecturer in the Division of Equity, Gender and Population at the University of Toronto. She has a strong interest in teaching and education, and has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate classes at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Ross completed her psychiatry residency in Ontario, Canada, at the University of Toronto and at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She completed a Master of Neuroscience degree at the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta and finished her undergraduate degree in psychology at York University in Toronto. She is a member of the Student and Emerging Professionals committee of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). She recently began her first term on the ISSTD Board of Directors.

She has had numerous speaking engagements across North America with a focus on trauma, education, and psychotherapy. Dr. Ross co-chairs the Trauma Talks conference (www.traumatalks.ca) in Toronto which is a conference focused on the concept and practice of trauma-informed care.

Dr. Ross was born in Inuvik in the Northwest Territories in Northern Canada and is of Dene descent. She identifies as Métis. Her interests outside of psychiatry include writing, movies, and painting.

Work Social Media:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/traumaedessentials

TW:  @trauma_ed


5-5:30 PM, Peer Pods and closing.