Vivek Ramakrishnan

While Vivek was in university, his health started to deteriorate. “I started hearing voices and believed that I could read minds,” he says. “I started dropping courses, my grades slipped and then, eventually, I had a psychotic break.”

Vivek was hospitalized for four months, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and started taking medication. “I’ve accepted my diagnosis and take my medication regularly. Now what I struggle with the most is anxiety and I find that CBT has helped with that a lot,” he says.

Today, Vivek and his parents speak at Strengthening Families Together (SFT) sessions, which have helped his parents as much as they have helped him. “My parents felt alone after I was diagnosed. Going to SFT connected them with other family members who were going through the same things,” Vivek says. “I was able to meet people through SFT that have helped me significantly with my recovery through the sharing of my story.”

In addition to being involved with SFT, Vivek has received his PhD in French Studies from the University of Waterloo in June 2017 and wants to let people living with mental illness know that they can live healthy, fulfilling lives. “I think it’s important to share my story with others in order to inspire people,” he says. “Speaking openly about mental illness takes away the fear of stigma and can help people.”

If you would like Vivek to speak at your event, please contact SSO at