Sarnia Speaks is a grassroots initiative that facilitates important, open discussion about the issues that impact us most. Through a series of public, open dialogues, Sarnia Speaks aims to engage folks from the Sarnia-Lambton community to come out and share their stories or listen to those of others in a safe, supportive environment.
It started in November 2015 when organizer Danielle Cooper had started a new job. Having struggled with generalized anxiety disorder and depression for many years prior, the change of a new job triggered a depressive and anxious episode that she hadn't experienced in years.
During a conversation with friend and Sarnia Speaks panel alum Tara Bourque, the two bonded over how they handled their mental illnesses in similar ways. This conversation included specific details of the day to day struggle of coping with chronic anxiety. The conversation was therapeutic, and helped Danielle through the episode.
It was that conversation that sparked the idea of holding a similar discussion on a larger scale open to members of the community where they could also share their stories as an alternative method of managing their illnesses. This is how Sarnia Speaks was born. Past topics have focused on a variety of mental illness related disorders (such as anxiety and depression), addiction, grief and loss, dementia, gender identity, coming out, poverty, diversity, suicide, and #MeToo.
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