BOLD IDEAS – YOUR STORY DOESN’T END HERE: VALUING SURVIVORS’ DIVERSE EXPERIENCES WITH TRAUMA, RECOVERY & ACTIVISM
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Presenter’s Bio: Shalyn Isaacs was the first student to serve on the Board of Trustees at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health hospital. During her time at York University as the Founder and President of Women’s Mental Health Talks and a Leadership Coach with Calumet & Stong Colleges, she worked with hundreds of students to address mental health challenges and navigate experiences with trauma. Her research has focused on intersectional theory and feminist psychology, as well as the interconnections between cultural values and South Asian women’s mental health. She has been a public speaker for 4 years, giving talks related to women’s mental health, sexual violence education and prevention, equitable leadership, perfectionism, and the role of compassion in trauma healing, self-care and systemic equity. Her work addresses trauma-informed education and leadership. She believes that adopting trauma-informed perspectives within educational and leadership spaces has the potential to create institutions that are equitable and that prioritize the mental health, learning capacities, and empowerment of marginalized individuals and communities.
Session Summary:Individuals with marginalized identities who face discrimination on the basis of their race, gender, sexual identity or socio-economic class often face additional obstacles to sharing their experiences with trauma and becoming social advocates when coping with on-going traumas that are part of their daily existence. Activists and advocates from marginalized backgrounds may start to feel that their work is insufficient as a result of coping with on-going traumas and/or trauma memories. In this talk, Shalyn will challenge assumptions embedded within the Master American Narrative by highlighting the importance of appreciating diverse trauma stories and emphasizing ways that systemic change and individual psychological healing is connected to collective liberation. She will be using my personal experiences with trauma healing and advocacy work in the field of women’s mental health and sexual violence to highlight the importance of appreciating diverse lived experiences with trauma, healing, recovery and activism that rarely follows linear trajectories.