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“I wish that there were more spaces for us to talk about mental health — in our families, in our communities — so that we wouldn’t have to keep so many secrets,” Leanne Toshiko Simpson says.

Making space to talk about mental health in Scarborough

One woman's journey from fear to finding comfort at the Shoniker Clinic.

“Many of us come from families where mental health isn’t something we can just talk about. Even though that’s the advice we are often given,” Leanne Toshiko Simpson says.

Simpson is a writer, educator and mental health activist, who grew up in Scarborough, Ontario. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as she was finishing high school. However, coming from a family that had lived through intergenerational trauma, she found it hard to speak about her diagnosis.

How could she tell her Japanese grandmother, who had been interned in New Denver, British Columbia, “that I couldn’t get out of bed — after she had slept in horse stables?”

Today, Simpson is challenging the stigmas around mental health, especially within racialized communities, and is helping other people find their voice.

Watch her video:

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