Overcoming the Silent Stigma with Kristin Bower

Kristin Bower - Headshot

Coming up at our Cool, Calm and Collected workshop on Feb 20, we will feature Kristin Bower, HR professional from Vancity, as one of our guest speakers to teach us how to manage our stress effectively.

Inside and outside of the office, Kristin is an advocate for mental health and awareness, as well as author of the blog, Adventures of a Survivor!. After overcoming a personal depressive episode two years ago, Kristin started her blog and wrote to work through her feelings and experiences.

“I was at a point where writing was therapeutic for me,” she says. “But I also wanted to make the leap into advocacy work. Having been through two major depressive episodes, at that point in my life I felt strongly that I could leverage it to make the experience perhaps less scary and lonely for other people also experiencing mental illness.”

During the dark times, Kristin faced many challenges while she learned more about herself, mental illness and her workplace.

“I made a commitment to be honest and sometimes that is a fine line,” says Kristin. “For work and my personal life, being honest has come at a cost. I have lost or ended friendships because that person couldn’t understand or show empathy. And I do feel that my career has stalled at times because of my illness. But at the end of the day, I made a choice and it’s one that I have never regretted.”

Although overcoming her challenges was difficult, Kristin frequently reminded herself of what her values were and what was essential to her well-being. She wanted to surround herself with people that lifted her up and says being honest with herself and others was key in conquering her obstacles.

Aside from her blog, Kristin is also a community correspondent with Partners for Mental Health, a national not-for-profit dedicated to awareness and elimination of stigma associated with mental illness. In addition, she works with the Vancouver/Burnaby branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and plans events at work in support of Bell Let’s Talk Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in May of each year.

With mental illness becoming more common today, affecting Canadians of all ages, cultures and educational levels, Kristin advises students to challenge their beliefs and assumptions regarding mental health and awareness.

“Open yourself up to learning more about the topic,” she says.

Hear from Kristin and others at YWiB SFU’s Cool, Calm & Collected workshop on Feb 20th. Registration is exclusively available on our Eventbrite: http://ywibccc.eventbrite.ca - don’t forget to share your posts about this event with #ywibcalm!

Also, check out Kristin in the National Post.