Trigger Warning: The content below contains information on mental illness and suicide which some readers may find triggering. If you need support, please contact the Ontario Shores crisis line: 1-800-263-2679.
Finding my voice: Robin’s Story
Growing up as a girl of Jamaican descent in a predominantly white community, Robin had a difficult time in school and at home.
In grade 7, her family moved from Ajax to Whitby. Leaving her friends behind was difficult. Her anxiety and depression were taking a hold of her and she began isolating herself. Robin was feeling so many emotions that she didn’t know how to release in a healthy matter and began to self-harm.
It was in high school that she was introduced to Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) through a mental health summit for select students. It was the first time she heard someone talk about mental illness openly.
After sharing her story with the speaker, Robin was connected to Ontario Shores’ outpatient adolescent services. There she learned coping strategies that helped her end self-harming and manage depression and anxiety.
As a young adult, Robin’s mental health was impacted following the divorce of her parents and loss of employment. She wanted to give up and eventually attempted suicide.
After receiving help, she was still struggling with mental illness. She belonged to a predominantly black church community but due to lack of education and awareness, their views on mental health felt negative and she felt like she didn't fit in anywhere.
She was then connected to T.A.M.I (Talking About Mental Illness) Durham and began public speaking about her struggles. She became a voice for people living with mental illness.
She went back to Ontario Shores’ outpatient program and has been moving forward ever since.
Passionate about sharing her story and mental health advocacy, Robin has co-facilitated groups and launched a peer-support group. She’s also a crisis counsellor who, until the pandemic hit, went into schools to work with kids that needed help.
She is also deeply passionate about reducing the stigma in the black and Christian communities and hopes to use her diversity to make a difference.
"I’m advocating for Ontario Shores’ because they changed my life," says Robin, now 29. "They pushed me to see my potential. I have a voice and want to use it to give back to the organization that had such a positive impact on my life".
When you give to Ontario Shores, you are investing in potential, promise and purpose. By donating today you can help many young people recover and grow into adults who help others survive and thrive.