I am 20 years old and currently live in Winnipeg, Manitoba! I attend the University of Winnipeg, where I am pursuing a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Performance & English literature. My passion for mental health awareness & education came after I was diagnosed with mental illness almost six years ago. Since then, I have made it my mission to increase awareness & normalise the conversation around mental health. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to share my story with many people and have worked to educate my community about the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness. I joined the Jack.org network three years ago, and am now the lead of our chapter at UWinnipeg, as well as active Jack Talks speaker. In my spare time, you may find me teaching my weekly theatre class, singing obnoxiously in my car, or sipping Starbucks while wearing my favourite cardigans!
I am a 5th year Families and Social Relations/ Psychology major at the University of Windsor. I'm 23 years old and originally from Sarnia, Ontario. I first got involved with Jack.org through the 2014 Jack Summit, where I was inspired to get involved as much as I possibly could. That fall, some friends and I started up the Jack.org UWindsor chapter and I joined the very first cohort of Jack Talks speakers! Through Jack.org I hope to make a change in my community and spread the message that we all have mental health, 5 in 5 of us, just like we all have physical health. I'm proud to be part of a network of students who are fundamentally changing the way we think and talk about mental health. If I’m not starting a conversation with someone about mental health you might find me hanging out with my dogs or at the barn with my horse.
From around the bay in Clarenville, Newfoundland, Lucas moved to St. John’s where he is pursuing his Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Gender Studies. Lucas loves to open positive dialogues about mental health and allowing people to interact with this topic in fun and creative ways! Talking about mental health, stigma, positive psychology and gender are what makes Lucas’ world go around. In his down time, Lucas likes to vent his feelings to his plants, make small talk with his hamsters, or sing to his fish. He’s always striking up a conversation with something or someone, and today is no different!
I am a 4th year student studying Con-current education at Queen's University, majoring in Gender Studies and minoring in Indigenous studies. For the past three years I worked on the Jack.org Queen's executive team in the roles of Secretary, Regional Summit Host and Lead, and Co-Lead. During my time with Jack.org I have worked to further incorporate diverse understandings of mental health. As a team our chapter has hosted events and initiatives that target the illness/wellness dichotomy, diversity of mental health experience, and the intersection of identity and mental health. In my free time I love to cook and eat with friends, spend time with my cat, Oscar, read poetry and watch movies!
Julissa Stewart was born and raised in Antigonish, NS. She has recently graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Sociology and is currently taking the Behavioural Interventions Advanced Diploma program at NSCC. She first got involved with Jack.org in 2013 and has been an active member in various Jack programs ever since. She co-created the Jack Chapter at St. FX in 2014 after attending her first Jack Summit, and since then has attended four Summits. From there, she became involved with the Jack Talks program and has been a certified Jack Talks speaker for three years. She is motivated to end the silence around mental health from her personal experience with mental health issues growing up, and she hopes that people will realize that this conversation affects everyone, so we need to start talking about it. When Julissa is not talking about mental health, you can probably find her planning her next travel adventure or spending time with her fluffy little kitten named Peanut.
Daniel Derkach recently received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, majoring in Neuroscience. Dan is currently working on his Master’s Degree at UofT, where he’s studying how stem cells in the brain can be used to treat brain injuries. He’s also a Jack Talks speaker and the Chapter Lead for Jack.org UofT.
Dan is passionate about making people comfortable with speaking about their mental health and reaching out for support when needed, since so many people suffer in silence and never seek help. He hopes to eventually become a psychiatrist, scientist, and teacher, but if this doesn’t work out, he’ll probably become a professional dog-walker.
Emily grew up in Oakville Ontario, and got involved with Jack.org through the McGill Chapter during her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and English Literature. After attending the Jack Summit in 2015, she became a Jack Talks speaker, and is so excited to be even more deeply involved with Jack.org this year as a Network Representative. Emily now calls Calgary (or more realistically the Rocky Mountains) her home for her time at the University of Calgary. She loves being outside, and while she misses canoeing in northern Ontario, she's found a good substitute in exploring the Rockies by hiking or skiing depending the season.
Hi! My name is Kimberly and I’m a 4th year science student, majoring in Psychology, at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna. I joined Jack.org as a speaker last year and loved getting the opportunity to foster the mental health movement amongst the youth in BC. I’m passionate about ending the silence around mental health and removing barriers to improve accessibility to resources. When I’m not starting conversations about mental health, you can find me making colour coded flash cards, eating potatoes, and playing with my dog, Roxy.
Shayan Yazdanpanah grew up in Richmond Hill, and is currently an Engineering student at Ryerson University. He is passionate about building his legacy through doing what he can to help others. Today, Shayan is a speaker with Jack.org doing his part to end the stigma around mental health and get the conversation started. When not on stage, you can find Shayan trying to rap all 1,560 words of Eminem’s Rap God, or trying to bring peace to the everlasting fight between his rabbits, aptly named "Bear" and "Goose”.
Daniel Nixon was raised in a small town in the interior of British Columbia. He is currently attending the University of British Columbia and hopes to one day take Justin Trudeau's title as the Prime Minister with the best hair. Dan shares his story in hopes that no one will suffer alone and realize that everyone has incredibly potential. When Dan isn't advocating for causes close to his heart you can find him binge watching documentaries or attempting to come up with the cheesiest dance move known to humankind.
My name is Alexis Lahorra, I'm a Filipina-Canadian and I'm 23-years-old. I'm a 4th-year Communications and Spanish undergraduate student at Concordia University. I'm also a Terry Humanitarian Award 2017 Scholar. I've been the Chapter Lead of Jack.org Concordia since 2015 and I'm a Network Representative at Jack.org.
My transition from CEGEP to University was difficult and I was a target of cyberbullying. Through this experience, I decided to share my story to illustrate that it's okay to not be okay, recovery is possible, and that there is no shame in talking about mental health. Starting a Jack.org Concordia Chapter at Concordia was a way to open up the conversation on campus and connect students to the services available.
Other facts: I've completed two summer field school programs in Salamanca, Spain, where I obtained my B1 and B2 certification in Spanish.
My name is Julie Zaky and I'm a 23 year old living in the cutest city in Canada... Yes, you guessed it, Montreal! I am currently finishing a bachelor in psychology at Université de Montréal. Oui, oui je parle français! I first heard about Jack.org in the fall of 2016 and I was so inspired by its mission and its work that I decided that I wanted to get involved with the network in any way possible. So, I founded and became the Lead of the Jack.org UdeM, the very first French Chapter in Canada. I am also a recently certified Jack Talks Speaker. When I am not studying or talking about mental health, I love to travel, discover new coffee shops, watch Robert De Niro movies and master my English accent (It’s not very good... yet!).