First and foremost, I identify as a family member with lived experience caring for loved ones living with mental health issues. I am passionate about bringing people with diverse perspectives and experiences together to collaborate and innovate to achieve shared goals.I believe the greatest strides are made when the inherent value and complexity of human lives and experiences are acknowledged through whole person approaches.
Since 2014, I have primarily been involved in child and youth mental health, supporting and advocating for children, youth and families in community-based services. As Family Engagement Lead at Lynwood Charlton Centre, Hamilton’s Lead Agency for child and youth mental health, I help bring family members and service providers together to improve the local children’s mental health system through collaboration and co-development. I have been involved with several initiatives related to youth and family engagement through the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, including an advisory tasked with developing provincial quality standards for family engagement. I have also brought the family member perspective to two phases of the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario initiative, first as a family reviewer of early proposals and currently as a family co-researcher with Taylor Newberry Consulting on the “YWHO Integrated Youth Service Sites” project. As a participant in research studying services for transition-aged youth, I developed a keen interest in co-production models, including Experience-Based Co-Design, which has positively influenced my engagement work with youth and families. The broad range of projects I have been involved with has strengthened my belief in the exponential impact of integrated models that are collaboratively designed, leveraging the unique perspectives and knowledge of service participants, providers, researchers and more.
In my personal life, I love to spend time with my family and our rescued Basset hounds, read novels that make me think and ride my bike on country roads and through muddy trails. I am also a volunteer leader with our local chapter of Parents for Children’s Mental Health.