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Episode #10: Surrounded by Stories

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Asante Haughton

Asante Haughton, BSc., Speaker and Mental Health Advocate, joins us to discuss his advocacy work in the areas of mental health and crisis response reform, storytelling through music, doing what works for you and so much more!

 

Asante Haughton has emerged as a leader in mental health. A veteran of the speaker circuit, Asante has presented across the globe, including a pair of TEDx talks telling stories detailing the impact of family trauma on mental health. Through his work, Asante was also named as a CAMH 150 Difference Maker, being awarded the distinction of being one of the top 150 difference makers in Canadian mental health. Since 2019 as the host of Cypher, a web show that takes caregiving stories and turns them into songs, Asante has been interviewing loved ones supporting loved ones to spotlight the healing power of connection. In addition, Asante has rediscovered his love of writing, becoming a contributing editor to Inspire Magazine, a wellness resource for youth. Most recently, Asante has co-founded the Reach Out Response Network, an advocacy organization currently working with the City of Toronto to usher in transformative crisis response reform. Finally, in his 9 to 5 life, Asante is a manager, designer and facilitator for Peer Support training programs at Stella's Place and for the City of Toronto's Community Healing Project, which supports youth exposed to community violence in their wellness while building capacity to facilitate peer-to-peer workshops on mental health and trauma.

 

Having firmly entrenched himself in the mental health space at large, Asante is now devoting his time, energy and focus to the intersections of race and mental health, seeking to amplify the myriad experiences of Blackness across the diaspora in order to shed light on the ways in which being Black in a world that seeks to diminish Blackness impacts the mental health of Black people. Asante believes in confronting current and historical truths about our world and the human condition, however uncomfortable those truths may be, in order to move toward healing.


 

WE DISCUSS:

  • How Asante became involved in mental health advocacy and began telling his mental health story 

  • The power of storytelling

  • Asante’s interest in music and the parallels with storytelling

  • The discomfort and vulnerability required to share stories and personal writing

  • Building confidence and the importance of validation 

  • Supporting children’s interests and the research on resilience in the face of adversity

  • Asante’s role in the development of the Reach Out Response Network: impetus for it’s creation and current stage of implementation

  • Some actionable steps and advice that Asante wants to offer listeners: doing what works and becoming a more “ideal self”


 

RESOURCES MENTIONED:


 

Get the transcript of this episode HERE.