Karim Mamdani

Ontario Shores

Karima Velji

Sanaz Riahi

#NVW2021 - 'I lost someone so important to me to mental illness'

I began volunteering at Ontario Shores nine years after overcoming a very difficult period in my life: my father’s suicide. I decided that following his tragedy, this would be a great way to give back to others struggling with mental illness.

My father was the type of man who would never ask for help, but would take his shirt off his back for a stranger. He was always so caring, compassionate and giving. His tragic death inspired me to help others and give back to the community.

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#NVW2021 - 'I am making a difference in the lives of people who struggle with mental illness'

I joined the volunteer team at Ontario Shores without realizing how impactful the experience would be on my personal life.

I began volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Gift Shop, Drop-in Centre and at Coffee Hour. The pandemic has had an impact on my own mental health due to the social restrictions, but being able to come to the hospital and share stories with the patients was a great experience that helped uplift my spirits.

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#NVW2021 - 'I can continue to encourage others to share their story'

I began volunteering at Ontario Shores three years ago without any clear goals of where I wanted to end up or what area I would fit best in. Eventually, I began volunteering in Recovery College which focuses on providing education about mental illness, treatment, passion, hope and meaning.

This is where I began my mental health storytelling journey.

People struggling with mental illness are often getting their story told for them by their family member, friend or a medical professional.

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