"Talk: Supporting a family member living with Schizophrenia, Navigating the health care, legal and social service systems, ensuring family self-care and strengthening interpersonal relationships."
A range of perspectives from "Starts With Me", "We create conversations about mental health that change lives"
Marie Asuncion – From the lived experience perspective.
Marie Asuncion has schizophrenia but she does not let that define her. In fact, in her commitment to wellness and recovery, she is determined to achieve all the goals she had for her life before having to face the diagnosis of this disease. Marie has already done much to meet her goals: a graduate of the University of Toronto Music School, Marie received her Bachelor of Music in Performance in Harp in 2007. She then went on to Seneca College to obtain a certificate in teaching English as a Second Language. Marie current teaches ESL, has a private music studio teaching harp students and performs her harp at various engagements around Toronto.She was the 2007 recipient of the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) Transforming Lives Scholarship and this past December was chosen as an Olympic Torch Runner and did her relay run in Oshawa, ON. She does volunteer work across the province, talking to young people about schizophrenia and psychosis. She is an active participant in raising awareness about the disease with organizations like the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario where she teaches a Young Adult Wellness and Recovery Group, CAMH where she works with Recovery Groups of Parents who have a child recently diagnosed with the disease and community awareness work, such as with the Fillipino Community (her parents are Fillipino immigrants to Canada). Marie has been featured in several documentaries, radio ads and newspaper articles.
Mike Stroh – As a brother and caregiver.
“Supporting a family member living with Schizophrenia” Navigating the health care, legal, and social services systems, ensuring family self-care and strengthening interpersonal relationships. A range of perspectives from ‘Starts With Me’ “We create conversations about mental health that change lives”.
Mike is a mental health & well-being advocate, speaker, and educator. He lived with many mental health challenges before entering recovery. Drawing from unique personal and family experiences, he shares a message of courage, hope, resilience, and joy. Mikehasaplethoraof self-care practices that he draws upon to encourage people to see how “We’re empowered by our experience, not inhibited" and to ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’ – Gandhi
Michael and his brother David grew up with a large group of friends. They often got in trouble together throughout their teens. Though both had mental health issues in adolescence, Michael didn’t notice when David started displaying symptoms of schizophrenia.
“He started acting strange near the end of high school, having delusions and was socially withdrawn. Because of our drug use, I couldn’t see the signs,” Michael says. “I would say my family was emotionally dysfunctional and my parents didn’t know what to do, or how to help.”
David was 22 when he had a psychotic break and was taken to the hospital. He resisted treatment and was in denial about his diagnosis. “It was difficult taking care of my brother when I had my own issues to deal with. Our family didn’t know how to care for him while making sure he was independent,” Michael says.
Valerie Logaridis – As a mother and caregiver. Valerie is a mother who lost her son Peter to suicide. Peter lived with schizophrenia and she speaks to the many challenges that her family faced trying to support their son. Though Michael has had his own mental health issues, he wants to speak about his family’s struggle with David to help others who have a family member living with schizophrenia. “No one really speaks about what family members go through when they have to care for a loved one. The wellness of the family is very important, you can’t help someone without it,” he says. “I want to tell my story to let families know they’re not alone.”
Valerie Logaridis – As a mother and caregiver
Valerie is a mother who lost her son Peter to suicide. Peter lived with schizophrenia and she speaks to the many challenges that her family faced trying to support their son.
Teresa Malone & Toronto Police Officer from the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT)
Teresa Malone has been a Registered Nurse for 34 years with the majority of her career in Mental Health. She presently works as a Mobile Crisis Intervention Nurse in partnership with Toronto Police services. As a team, they respond to 911 calls involving people who are experiencing a crisis or mental health symptoms requiring a response from trained professionals. Teresa is required to make acute decisions certain times and because of her vast experience with all age groups and psychiatric diagnosis/intervention, she is able to effectively provide compassionate skilled decisions to help others navigate through.
Teresa also is a certified Mental health First Aid Instructor under The Mental health Commission of Canada. She teaches a basic 12-hour course to those who want a better awareness and understanding towards Mental Health to help decrease stigma and fear so we come forward to prevent situations from worsening. Most do not know what to do and Teresa wants participants to leave the course with the confidence and skill to respond if needed. Teresa has been running courses at Queens Park, VIA Rail, Community Agencies, Churches and the Public in general.
Her passion and wealth of compassion bring the class to real life.