News & Events News & Announcements 2016 Faces of SSO's Speakers Bureau - Kirk

Faces of SSO's Speakers Bureau - Kirk

This Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), SSO is highlighting members of our speakers bureau who are individuals living with schizophrenia or family members who speak at events across the province on behalf of the organization.

Today we highlight Kirk.


Growing up wasn’t easy for Kirk. Thrust into caring for his brothers while his family fought, Kirk struggled with mental illness, turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with feelings of pain and neglect. It wasn’t until he was 26 that Kirk was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Kirk struggled with his diagnosis at first, nearly dying by suicide three times.
On the advice of a friend, he began writing down his experiences in a journal. This became a way for Kirk to work through and interpret his disparate, confusing, and painful experiences. As a result of his writing, Kirk became resolved to getting better. He decided to quit alcohol and drugs for good, and began to respond well to treatment and therapy.
Always athletic, Kirk became an avid racquetball player. He was first introduced to the sport through his treatment program. In addition to competing nationally, Kirk has also shared his story with Racquetball Canada. He’s also completely kicked his addictions.
Kirk has now turned everything around. His recovery journey has taken place over the past 11 years, and he feels really good about it—and himself.
“I’m glad I’m alive and able to help others going through similar experiences. My advice is to just take it one day at a time. Learn your mind, be patient and breathe,” Kirk says.
Kirk now shares his story with others as a speaker for SSO’s Halton/Peel branch in Oakville, and also works as a peer support worker, where he helps connect people to treatment and services. Kirk is noted for his approachability, warm personality, and eagerness to share his unique experience.
Kirk shares his story in hopes that people who hear him won’t wait to get help if they need it.

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