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Our Ambassador of the week is Alicia Raimundo, a Canadian native who advocates for mental health awareness. After almost losing her own life to suicide and attending 14 funerals as a result of suicide, Alicia knew she wanted to ignite change pertaining to mental illness. Suicide takes more lives annually than acts of violence and has risen 60% in the past 45 years.
Alicia helps youth recognize that surviving a mental illness makes you strong, and attempts to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. She has given over 600 speeches so far, and as a result has been named “The Mental Health Superhero” due to the positive message she spreads to the young population. She has spoken at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2013, United Nation’s Youth Day in 2014, and for TEDx.
She currently works for a variety of organisations, including the BeChange Project, which assists the youth in improving their health and mental health ideas with the partnership of the peer support network Talklife. Additionally, Alicia has been in contact with the writers of Degrassi and drawn inspiration from her own story to help incorporate the topic of depression into the show. By developing a character with depression, she hopes to help those who are suffering in silence by showing they are not alone.
Alicia’s memoir entitled “Red Carnations”, part of the eighth-grade curriculum in Canada, depicts raw memories of her suicide attempt that urges students to discuss the importance of self-harm and suicide. She also contributes to the Huffington Post and Mighty Writers.
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