Program: Master of Education in Counselling Psychology (Global Mental Health)
Expected year of graduation: 2021
What lead you to apply to the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at OISE?
I have a deep desire to provide and improve mental health services for minority groups with a specific focus for Black and Indigenous women. Though there is quite an extensive amount of work that I plan on doing here in Canada, my greatest desire is to work in countries lacking mental health services for this specific group. Eventually, my goal is to implement greater mental health services back home in Haiti.
What is your past work experience?
Throughout high school, undergrad and now grad school, I have continuously worked in a variety of roles. The work I have done ranges. I have been privileged to gain opportunities delivering services to all age groups. Through my positions (though I was often hired in fields seemingly unrelated to mental health), I always found there to be a great need for it and would find some way to deliver services directly targeted to individuals' mental health.
Any accomplishments you would like to highlight (awards, promotions or challenges that helped you get to where you are now?)
I find this to be an interesting question because for virtually every other sector, I would feel a need to highlight all of my accomplishments in explanation as to how I am not at the point that I am now. But I find that if anything, it is all the challenges that I encountered in life that steered me in this direction and helped me see the strong need for more People of Colour in the mental health field. Specifically, more Black women in the mental health field.
It is through the lack of Black women within the mental health field, despite the detrimental need for mental health interventions within the Black community, that I am motivated to advance within this field. I hope that other Black women will be given the opportunity to see that they matter, that their thoughts matter, their roles matter and that they deserve to occupy as much space as their heart desires, plus some.
What is the one thing you like about your experience so far at OISE?
One thing that I have greatly enjoyed about my experience so far at OISE is getting to hear the different plans my colleagues and other students intend on doing upon achieving their degree from OISE. There's so much work to be done and to hear all the ways that these individuals and colleagues of mine intend on contributing to society and the advancement of mental health services is so amazing.
With my program, the practicum element is intended to be fulfilled abroad in any country of our choosing. It is has been so intriguing to hear the plans that are in place for each of my colleagues in the country of their choosing. It has been demonstrative of the fact that there is so much work that can be and must be done, globally. The practicum itself will be such an enriching experience, to be able to learn more about the application of mental health interventions from a front line perspective. This opportunity will also better help serve us to see how mental health is widely understood globally.
What is your favourite thing about studying in Toronto?
My favourite thing about Toronto definitely has to be the eclectic mix of individuals. Everyone here has such widely versed stories that really is hard to come across in any other given city, yet here you can meet so many different people and hear so many different type of stories all in one hub. It's extraordinary.
What does your “weekend” typically look like?
My typical weekend when I'm not working consists of me spending time with friends, dancing, eating new foods around the city and pampering myself in some way or form as a reward for the week.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
My hobbies and interests range from reading to attempting to cook food from different cultures. My favorite author right now is Edwidge Danticat. Her work touches the soul in such profound ways and depicts the Haitian experience in breathtaking forms. A few years ago I also found a love for singing in gospel choirs and have found great joy being a part of U of T's Gospel choir.
What is your favorite type of cuisine?
My favorite type of cuisine definitely has to be Haitian food. Shout out to all my Haitians that may be reading this! "Sak Pase!" Growing up in a Haitian household has shown me that Haitian food is the greatest family dinner food, party food, comfort food and everything in between. Recommended dish to try is banan peze (fried plantains), griot (pork) and pikliz (pickled cabbage). Second recommended dish to try would be Haitian patties. From there, I can guarantee you'll be looking to marry into the culture.
Where do you see yourself after you achieve your degree from APHD?
I see myself spending some time in different countries to better familiarize myself with other societies and seeing how they operate before attempting to initiate different strategies for mental health services. Through this, I also hope to gain better insight as to how the world sees mental health. This will influence the delivery of my work.
From there on I plan on starting the building of my work and all that it will encompass to help improve services for our Black and Indigenous women and girls.