An assembly with a focus on mental health hosted by BMHS was presented on April 10th. Three guest panelists came to the school from all over the province to speak and answer questions on their journey with mental health! Unfortunately, our fourth could not make it as he came down with an illness.
The following are some short biographies of the panel participants:
Joselyn is transgender. She was assigned male at birth, but identifies as female. The process of understanding and coming to terms with what is currently understood as gender dysphoria took many years and has impacted her life in many ways. She was 26 years old before she came out to her family and friends – including her wife. She started volunteering at UBU Moncton, a local transgender support and action group in 2015. Since then, she has participated in several pride events as well as educational presentations for businesses and schools. Joselyn is now the treasurer for UBU Atlantic and facilitates the UBU Moncton group for those who are questioning or transitioning themselves, as well as their friends and family.
Matt Kinnie was an avid outdoorsman, adventure seeker, and engineering student at UNB when in 2005 he had a rock climbing accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down and with reduced hand and arm function. Lucky to be alive, Matt had to accept the changes in his life and learn how to navigate the world from a wheelchair. With the support of friends and family, Matt was able to get back to living life to the fullest. Matt quickly took advantage of wheelchair sports. He lives a very active lifestyle, competing in wheelchair rugby and handcycling. Matt hopes to qualify for the Paralympics in handcycling in 2020. In 2007, Matt completed his Engineering degree and has worked full-time for the past eight years as a Project Manager and now Team Lead with Stantec Consulting. Having the support of an employer that looks beyond his disability has been instrumental to him achieving success in the business world. Matt and his wife Melanie are proud parents of twin girls, who turned 4 years old in August. Currently, Matt’s biggest challenge is no longer dealing with his disability, but learning how to balance home, work and play.
Corey Ferguson attended St. Thomas University in Fredericton. During her time at STU, she developed mental health challenges which interfered with academic, social and personal functioning. This later resulted in two separate hospitalizations. She was forced to abandon her studies and spent two years focusing on regaining her mental health. In 2014 she graduated from university with a degree and she joined the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick as a Community Education Coordinator for Westmorland/Albert Counties. Her work with CMHA of NB has allowed her to use her personal experience and passion to engage and educate communities about mental wellness/illness.
Khaleel Urrahman is a Financial Advisor at Sun Life Financial. He is originally from India where he grew up, studied and graduated with a degree in Finance. He worked for Thomson Financial, a Canadian financial institution out of Bangalore, India for 3 years. He then moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 2007 to complete his post-graduate diploma in Finance with his twin brother. After the course, he moved to the Philippines and worked for Thomson Reuters for 3 years in the Manila office. He then moved to Canada in 2010 and has been a Canadian citizen since 2014. He speaks 5 languages, 4 of them being Indian languages (Beary, Tulu, Kannada and Hindi). Last year he was nominated for the Newcomer Success Story by the City of Moncton. Unfortunately, he could not make it to the assembly due to a flu.