Prior to engaging CMHA Ottawa services, Kurtis was almost completely housebound. His mental and physical health were in severe decline due to several years of inactivity. Kurtis was isolated, except for the occasional medical appointments or visits to the hospital emergency department, which became his only social contact.
In the early days of his time as a client of the CMHA, Kurtis says it was hard to even imagine a future in which there’s hope and prosperity. But as difficult as it was, he made the decision to try to make the most of the services he was receiving.
With the help of his community support worker (CSW), Kurtis set goals for himself and together they worked towards accomplishing them. By identifying his many strengths, and with the help of his CSW, he was motivated to get well. At first he sought to always report progress to his CSW during their weekly visits but he eventually grew more and more confident, independent and ambitious in his goal-setting, including vocational goals.
Jump forward to today: Kurtis’ weekly calendar is filled with numerous volunteer roles with a network of health care providers as well as paid work with CMHA Ottawa’s Peer Engagement Advisory Council (PEAC).
Kurtis is a person with lived experience who holds a PhD in philosophy. He’s a consultant, accomplished researcher, trainer, lecturer and writer who has worked in the political, business and academic sectors — and he’s also seen his personal rock bottom and risen from it.
Equipped with this unique combination of qualifications, Kurtis is forging a new path in life with a goal of doing his part to further bring the client perspective to mental health services in Ottawa.