MDABC Speakers Bureau
About the MDABC Speakers' Bureau
The MDABC Speakers' Bureau is a public awareness program connecting speakers living with mental health issues with audiences. Our speakers offer dynamic, authentic, and sometimes humourous presentations that dispel stigma, promote empathy, and confront discrimination.
Formed in October, 2012, the MDABC Speakers Bureau has become a successful, in-demand program and we continue to expand our reach by presenting in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region and beyond. We believe that every British Columbian can benefit from hearing these inspiring personal stories, learning accurate information about mood disorders, and finding out about local resources.
If you would like to view a few of our speakers tell their stories please click here.
Booking a Speaking Presentation
If you would like to book a FREE speaking event for your school or community agency, the MDABC welcomes and embraces all invitations. If your agency is outside of the lower mainland, the MDABC will require the hosting agency to fund the travel costs.
Meet the Speakers:
Chris has a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa, obtained in 1993. He has a background in Personal Training helping others to reach their fitness, lifestyle, and dietary goals. He has completed training as a peer support worker and hopes to work in the mental health care field in this capacity. Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1987, he enjoys sharing his experiences with others in the form of motivational speaking. He also teaches English as a second language at the UBC Learning Exchange in Chinatown.
Laura is working as a Peer Support Worker, supporting others who are experiencing mental health challenges. In her free time, she is learning how to do basic web design and teaches ESL on a volunteer basis. She has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and Depression with Psychotic Features. She loves to share her message of hope, perseverance and recovery to help reduce the stigma around mental illness.
Debbie is a business consultant and instructor at Douglas College and offers sales training and motivational keynotes through her business, Debbie Palmer Presents. She began speaking on mental illness after the death of her mentally ill mother in 2011 after the discovery of her mother’s 34 years of journal entries. Her talk, “The Tin Gods and a Box of Q & A”, describes how her perception of her mother changed. Her mother was tormented her entire life by her delusional adversaries, the ones she named the ‘Tin Gods’. Debbie describes her mother’s life and her own new found understanding of what life was like for her mother who’s mental illness was never acknowledged.
Anna is an artist by profession. At art school, she studied fine art, including painting, sculpture,design and pottery. She later taught art for 7 years. Anna sang for the musical group "Fusion" and was a worship leader at her church. In 2009 she became a peer support worker and has been working for Fraser Health, Coast Mental Health, and Vancouver Coastal Health. In 2011 she joined Toastmasters and found her passion as an inspirational speaker. Anna then started her own talking group in the mental health community. Her goal is to bring hope to as many people as possible.
Miranda has had a passion for sharing her experience, spreading knowledge and helping others with mental health challenges since she started dealing with depression and anxiety in high school. She recently graduated from Queen's University with a B.A. in Psychology and is now working as a Youth Outreach Worker on the North Shore. She finds this to be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling work that she has ever done. She still struggles with mental health concerns today, but that doesn't stop her from sharing her story, helping others and tackling the stigma of mental health!
Earl is a voice-over artist in Burnaby & former radio announcer at Giant FM in Penticton. His interest & experience in public speaking began when he was very young in Nanaimo BC at CHUB Radio. Recently in February of 2015, he became involved in TOASTMASTERS & is a member of JUST PROS Toastmasters.
Earl began attending The Sapperton Group of MDA in March of 2014 after experiencing the break up of a long friendship/love relationship.
Derek is in love with music. He teaches saxophone, clarinet and piano. He has also dabbled in trumpet, flute and guitar. In 2011, Derek received his diploma for Recreation Leadership from Langara. “Living Life Fully with Bipolar” is Derek’s first book written in May 2011. It entails his journey with bipolar and how he has overcome this obstacle. Since 2005, he has been stable and takes meds every day to manage his mood. Derek is a dreamer and truly believes that anything can be accomplished if you believe it can be done. In his presentations, Derek portrays the details of his illness with honesty and humour. Derek has been part of the speakers bureau since Nov 2013. He enjoys speaking, sharing his story, and helping others who have similar difficulties.
Jeff was originally diagnosed with bipolar II when he was 26 years old.
Eight years after being involved in a car accident, Jeff had to take a leave from work to deal with both a spinal injury and his bipolar illness. This time gave him an incredible opportunity to reflect on his life and how he’d live it.
Jeff was no longer able to continue with the career he had built over a 20 year period and instead he looked to something that has always helped him to deal with whatever life has thrown at him, yoga. He is now a yoga teacher and yoga therapist.
During this time, Jeff also began to be open up about his illness which has enabled him to become an advocate for mental health. Jeff hopes to share stories that will encourage people to look at bipolar in a different way, to help others find happiness and stability and to provide insight so that the stigma within our society will be reduced.
Corrina works for Fraser health and volunteers with various youth and woman’s programs across the Lower Mainland. At the age of 23, after a lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, Corrina was diagnosed with bipolar type 2.
Fear of the stigma surrounding mental health kept her from sharing her mental health challenges with others. After strenuous therapy she now hopes sharing her story of recovery will help others understand mental illness. Corrina hopes to obtain her Bachelor’s in Psychiatric Nursing to help others who are struggling with mood disorders.
Brenda enjoyed a professional career for over 25 years when she began her journey with mental illness. Through her journey Brenda has received various supports along her road to recovery but has also dealt with the stigma of having a mental illness. She is now enjoying a second life career as a volunteer and likes to speak to groups about her experiences with mental health, recovery and stigma.