Stories Shatter Stigma

  While we are certainly moving in the right direction with mental health, stigma remains evident in our places of work and communities. Learning about various mental health issues from a book or a workshop is a great start, but do you know what’s even better? Hearing someone’s story. The number one way to remove stigma is by sharing our stories.   Many of us are good at wearing a mask and pretending that we have it all together. I get it. It’s difficult to be vulnerable and share our inner battles with those around us. However, this is an…

My Journey Towards Wellness

As a kid, I never grew up hoping to one day struggle with mental illness or become an addict. Who knew that these were the lessons I needed to learn to be in a position to help others with their mental health. My challenges with mental illness began at the age of 14 with body dysmorphic disorder. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for the next 13 years without complete disgust. I had no idea how to talk about my pain so I just kept it all inside. What’s crazy is that I was the kid who was…

A Male Teacher Speaks Openly About Mental Illness

Few males can be found teaching elementary school, and even fewer of these speak openly about their challenges with mental health. Meet my best friend, James Siemens. Living in a small prairie town makes it even more difficult to speak about mental illness. While James often felt alone in his battles, he quickly learned that by being vulnerable and sharing his story, there were others in hiding. That right there is why we made this book. It’s time to talk alright.  

4 Lessons Learned from Suicide

Silence is not the answer. It’s time to talk openly about suicide.   I have spent the last few months traveling to several communities to discuss this prevalent issue of suicide, and I wanted to share a few of the lessons I have learned. 1. Ask the tough question, “Are you feeling suicidal?” Pay attention to the guts. If you think there is a problem then there probably is. At that point it is important to ask this difficult question. Yet, I think we fear asking the question because we fear the response. What happens if the person you care about…

How I Made A Living Doing What I Love

Last week I was reunited with Ray Reshke, the man responsible for starting my speaking career. At the time, I was only a few months into my recovery from a gambling addiction that damn near killed me. I attended various Gamblers Anonymous meetings in Edmonton, and repeatedly, I was the only young male in attendance. Knowing that there were other young men just like me that suffered in silence, I was motivated to make some noise. I turned to google and quickly found the Problem Gamblers Resource Network, a small non-profit organization that focused on educating society about this prevalent…

You Were Born Resilient

You were born resilient, and you were born to fight. My latest book Born Resilient: True Stories of Life’s Greatest Challenges has received criticism over its title. The argument is that we were not born resilient, but rather that resiliency is a skill we must acquire. I don’t dispute that, but don’t tell me you didn’t come into this world with a resilient and fighting spirit.  You came into this world kicking and screaming.  If someone chokes you what is your immediate reaction? You fight. If someone puts your head under water, what do you naturally do? You fight. I…