Presentations for Organizations and Institutions

"I found my purpose beyond illness. That's when transformation began and healing happened. Whether you suffer or support a loved one, I want to help you find your purpose. It all begins with hope and positive change." 

Fear and silence still pervade our workplace. We are afraid to speak up. We fear what people will think. We fear putting our jobs in jeopardy, regardless of our talents and skills for the work we do. I see it among my peers, and I see it as an educator. Change is imperative. With the right measures in play, healing does happen. It is clear that with acceptance and compassion, we achieve higher levels of success in any profession, in any school. I lived it, I proved it, and I now share my story. I am a survivor. No one should ever have to live a lie as I did, yet so many do, day after day, in fear of being judged. My story of hope and healing is one that resonates in schools and the workplace. When we open up, when we share our stories from the heart, we can heal from severe illness and make a difference. That is when others step forward for help.

My name is Chris Nihmey. I am a mental illness advocate, illness survivor, motivational speaker, teacher, and author of four books including my memoir Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie, Chipmunka Publishing, UK, my battle with mental illness, which has sold approximately 4000 copies. Since its release in 2013, I have had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to students and employees throughout Ottawa and beyond about my story of hope, resilience, purpose, and healing. Healing DOES happen. We can speak time and time again about mental health, wellness, and stigma, but when a survivor shares their own life experiences, and their road to healing, the impact is profound. Attitudes and views change forever, as does compassion and acceptance for sufferers and their loved ones.

I lived a lie, hiding my illnesses for over a decade to avoid discrimination and prejudice. No one should have to do this. We all have a story to share. I now share mine. We are not alone.

“I am not the illness. I have an illness. SEE THE PERSON, not the illness.” -Chris Nihmey


Preparatory and Follow-Up Activities

This DOCUMENT outlines activities that members of your school community/organization/institution can implement prior to, and following my talk, to ensure that my message is well received, understood, and reinforced. I will provide staff with a 6 page document which includes mental health links, resources, effective tips & ideas, and several ways that teachers/parents can educate their students and children at home to create awareness, understanding, and compassion for those who struggle. Included are steps that teachers/parents can take to receive direction and treatment for their own ailments. Each listener will receive a bookmark that links to my website. On my website are many mental health links and resources, including a contact page where I can be reached following my talk. Help is always available, prior to, and following my talk. Never hesitate to reach out. Early intervention is the key.

Here is a QUESTIONNAIRE that can be distributed following my visit. It is a chance for students to reflect on my messages. Answers can be written by students OR discussed as a class. Questions can be used for any follow-up activities, or discussion prior to my visit. Classroom activities tied to mental health and wellness are always encouraged to continue the conversation. You can always review my "goals" on this page.

Time for Presentation: 1 hour (+/- 5 min.)

Presentation Fee: $500 for one presentation, $600 for two, $700 for three.

Travelling to your city: I would love to visit. There will be reasonable travelling expenses needed for trips that require 2 or more hours of driving.

If you are interested in a visit, please click on the "Reserve Your Presentation Now" button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page. Thank you.

Creating Mental Health Awareness At Home & In The Workplace

Since 2013, I have hosted over 150 presentations at schools and organizations about my battle with mental illness and finding hope, purpose, and healing in my life. My feedback has been superlative. I continue to speak in 2018. I would love to come out to speak at your workplace.

My goals:

  • Educating & understanding mental illness 
  • Speaking up early to get help, and listening to one another
  • Being vulnerable so other staff will step forward for help
  • What signs and symptoms should we look out for? Where do we find help?
  • How to talk effectively about suicide with workmates and our children
  • Utmost importance of loving support in the home & workplace – empathy, acceptance & compassion for the sufferer
  • Providing accessible resources in our workplace
  • The dangers of stigma and the fight to eliminate all types of bullying at home & in the workplace
  • How to speak to our children properly about mental health & wellness
  • Inspiring hope, purpose, resilience & healing (Healing DOES happen!)
  • Never give up, always look up - every step counts

This presentation opens up avenues for employees to step forward and receive help without prejudice or judgement. It also presents them with much needed up-to-date information on working with their children at home. Fear kept me from revealing my illnesses for well-over a decade, and this included my first two years of permanent teaching. Not one staff member knew. No parent, employee, or child should ever fear speaking up. There is a need for compassion and acceptance for all sufferers, big and small, during a very busy and hectic year. Let’s open up an awareness, a discussion of mental health and wellness: what it is, its signs, its effects, and why loving support is crucial for healing. The lines of communication must be open, among staff, and within our families. Let’s do this now. We are worth it. Open up our arms for colleagues, friends, and family. We are not alone. We should never feel this. Hope is there, and with hope comes healing.

We are all responsible for our whole community, especially those suffering from sickness, bullying, abuse or neglect, lacking the support that many of us have. This leads to suffering and in some instances, suicide. Taking your life is never a choice, but a decision impacted by circumstances within and around us. Reaching out to someone is a choice. It is time to destroy the fear and shame that accompanies sickness. Until our loved ones feel they can safely step forward and share their stories without judgement and prejudice, sufferers will choose to hide and ultimately lose hope. They must know, deep down, that they are not alone. Every life matters. Hope and healing is a gift we all deserve.

If you are interested in a visit, please click on the "Reserve Your Presentation Now" button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page.


"We are indebted to you Chris Nihmey for your ongoing contributions on our OCSB Mental Health journey. Sincere gratitude for your leadership in OCSB and beyond."
Denise Andre, OCSB Director, 2018
 "Your talk last night was extremely engaging, and interactive. You are a master at talking about a very tough topic in a very entertaining way that doesn't take away the complex element of the story, and you were also able to connect emotionally with the audience. You can be wonderful with a teen audience and also with parents. Too bad you live in Ottawa Chris."
Iman Zayed, North York Public Library, Toronto, ON

"Thank you again for your wonderful, energetic, empowering and solutions-oriented presentation! I wish you every success expanding your clientele and taking your presentation and message to new heights!"

Shannon Parsons - Ottawa SALUS Community Mental Health Services

"Chris recently came to Longue Sault PS to speak to my staff about his journey. He hit it out of the ballpark ... wow!  My staff were blown away by his story and message which contained useful, research based information which can be used to support all public education stakeholders. I highly recommend Chris Nihmey as a professional speaker for any organization interested in increasing their capacity to properly support mental health in their workplace.

Kieran Kennedy, Principal, Upper Canada District School Board

"On behalf on the MHWG at First Unitarian, I want to thank you again for your wonderful presentations this morning. They were very inspirational and extremely well delivered. One indication of how you touched many of the congregants was the brisk sale of your book (27 sold) which I look forward to reading. Given all your skills, I am sure you will have a good deal of success in sensitizing people to the challenges of living with mental illness and to the importance for everyone to listen and accept."

 Paul McGinnis, Chair, Mental Health Working Group, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa

"I am full of admiration for you as you tell your story, warts and all, no euphemisms or skirting around the issues.  It is so important to do what you are doing."

Katherine Elliott, Church Council, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa