Me Too Conversations

Event Date: May 11, 2016
Me Too Conversations

Beginning last October and continuing on into 2016, the Me Too Conversations is a mental health speaker series produced by in collaboration by philanthropist Andy Szocs, the VCH and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation. The events are designed to address the stigma around mental health conditions through a contact based approach, that is, hearing and learning from people who are in recovery from mental illness. CREST.BD’s Erin Michalak is the scientific lead for the planning committee for Me Too and the team hosts an information table at each event.

On March 23rd, 2016, CREST.BD peer researcher and blogger Natasha Kolida took to the stage at SFU Woodward’s for Me Too Volume 3, alongside Jared Casey, Director of Strategic Policy at the First Nations Health Authority, and Michael Schratter, teacher and founder of Ride Don’t Hide.

Natasha lives well with bipolar disorder, and her presentation spoke to social stigma reduction. Her talked touched on:

  • Acknowledging incremental successes in stigma reduction. A large part of addressing stigma will take time, and requires system level changes in the healthcare sector.
  • Understanding that emotional experiences are complex and can be confusing. Using a mental health vocabulary that people already have, (i.e., words like “stress” that most people already identify with) can help guide people in the process of labelling their emotions – something that, as a society, we’re not taught to do well.
  • Accepting that different people understand and identify differently with mental health and mental illness, and while some of will want to take the opportunity to use stigmatizing situations to educate other people, we don’t all need to confront stigma or be “stigma superheroes”. Instead, we can all do our part by being more compassionate and empathetic with each other.


The next free Me Too event will be in May 2016. For more VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation event information, click here.