CHRIS NIHMEY

CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH AMBASSADOR, AUTHOR & PRESENTER  

2017/2018 FACE OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Chris_Nihmey Bio Faces

Chris Nihmey is an Ottawa-based mental health advocate, author, presenter, and teacher. He was recently selected as a 2017/2018 Face of Mental Illness for the Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health. Please visit www.camimh.ca for more details on the campaign. The press conference was hosted by Michael Landberg (right) on July 13th. This important Faces Campaign will lead to October's Mental Illness Awareness Week where the five Faces (Martin Binette, Kharoll-Ann Souffrant, Brian Rose, Rachel Beazley, and myself) will make a Parliamentary visit in hopes of increasing government funding to mental health, with the goal of balancing funds between mental and physical health in Canada. This will all culminate in January of 2018 with Canada's largest mental health campaign, Bell Let's Talk. Visit letstalk.bell.ca/en/ to read more about the five Faces. Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk, attended the press conference in Toronto. She's a wonderful woman with a promising vision of providing hope to all sufferers and their loved ones, not only in Canada, but worldwide. These Canadian Ambassadors now join forces to destroy the stigma of mental illness throughout Canada and beyond, by educating, and increasing awareness and understanding of the devastating effects of illness on sufferers and their loved ones. Fear has kept so many sufferers in isolation. This must change. It begins with acceptance and compassion. Then, and only then, will a person step forward to receive the help they so rightly deserve. A huge thank you goes out to Emily Gale, Public Affairs Coordinator from Impact Public Affairs. Thank you for your compassion and acceptance of each of us. You have a passion and a love of what you do, and we are grateful for it. Thanks for your continued support and guidance. 

For over a decade, Chris battled three life-debilitating illnesses: Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Knowing the extreme dangers of stigma in society, he made a decision to hide his illnesses, living only one side of his life in front of others. He hid behind an unexpected ally, writing, and found hope through words.

In 2013, Chris released his poignant memoir Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie. The book has sold approximately 2,800 copies and is a source of hope to supporters and those suffering from mental health problems and mental illness. His illustrated picture book on the homeless and mental illness, Sally, was released in 2015. His latest, Reflections From Another Side, an anthology on mental illness, will be released in December of 2017. All three books are published with Chipmunka Publishing in the UK.

As a mental illness survivor, Chris Nihmey promotes the need to end stigma and discrimination. Through writing and speaking, he aims to further educate society on mental illness and mental wellness, and the dangerous effects that stigma has on both sufferers and their families. Fighting stigma also depends on you. We are all in the fight to increase acceptance and compassion in our hearts. Speak up and encourage sufferers to step into the light and share their stories. That's when hope builds. That's when healing begins. Healing does happen.

A special thank you to my great friend, Sean Haughian, who nominated me for the Faces of Mental Illness campaign.

I couldn't have done it without you. Your continued support gives me hope and purpose in my journey. 

Sean and Chris

 

Bell Let's Talk

Huffington Post Canada

The Faces Visit Parliament

CBC News Toronto

2017 Faces of Mental Illness

CAMIMH