Olympian connects and empowers Canadians through the power of storytelling
UNSINKABLE portal spotlights lessons of hope and courage
Toronto, ON, April 2, 2019 – Real-life stories of indomitable people who have faced adversity and triumphed will be profiled on a new web portal that launches April 3. UNSINKABLE is a labour of love from four-time Olympian and child and mental health advocate, Silken Laumann, in the form of a story-sharing platform that seeks to connect and empower Canadians in their own mental, physical and spiritual health (WeAreUnsinkable.com).
Laumann created UNSINKABLE after years of listening to Canadians’ remarkable stories of courage and resilience. Her goal is to share these stories so that they can be a resource for others who may be struggling. In doing so, people have the opportunity to connect with the stories and articles that might help them to feel like they’re not alone while de-stigmatizing the conversation around mental health challenges. UNSINKABLE is also a valuable resource for anyone seeking inspiration and/or helpful tips from trusted health experts.
“Since my accident and writing my book about my own mental health struggles, people have approached me to share their own personal stories about overcoming physical and mental health challenges. It makes absolute sense to me that these things are connected – in order to overcome something physical, you need to be mentally strong,” said Laumann. “This is a forum for people to keep sharing their stories so others can learn and feel connected. We need stories that are helpful and hopeful…a celebration of how strong people are. There is a demand for a platform that shares lived experience and this is it.”
Some of the stories include a Vancouver girl who battled a neuropsychiatric disorder before the age of 8, a young man who grew up gay in a small village in Newfoundland and Labrador, a young woman from Ottawa who survived being lit on fire, a Toronto woman in her 20s who was born HIV positive, along with many others. The platform also features stories from notable Canadians such as competitive swimmer and Olympic medalist, Mark Tewksbury, and mental health advocate, Margaret Trudeau. In addition, there are inspiring stories from everyday Canadians who have fought to advance awareness of mental and physical health issues.
One of the Canadians profiled is Maria Estrada, who immigrated to Canada from Peru with her family as a young girl. She grew up with mental illness that resulted in self-harm, multiple suicide attempts and addiction. As the child of a single working mother who couldn’t acknowledge what was happening to Maria because of cultural barriers, Estrada had to navigate her own way through the medical system and advocate for the supports she needed. She now works as a counsellor and public speaker to help others who face similar challenges.
“When I was younger, no one ever talked about mental illness. I felt alone for so many years and tried to commit suicide several times. When I turned to the internet, all I could find was negative, dark material about eating disorders and self-harm,” Estrada said. “This online platform is a safe place that offers hope. Reading stories about other people like you makes you feel like you’re not alone and that’s a huge help.”
UNSINKABLE also offers expert perspectives on issues facing the health of Canadians from healthcare and wellness professionals including Dr. Jillian Roberts, registered nutritionist Lauren Follett, registered psychotherapist Dr. Suzanne Wiseman, as well as health coaches focused on personal training, yoga, meal planning and more.
“I am honoured to be a part of this powerful project to help others heal and become their best selves. A large part of my work as a psychologist is focused on teaching children, teens and adults how to develop resilience. Silken is the embodiment of resilience and grit and I look forward to all that will be achieved in this project,” said Dr. Jillian Roberts, a clinical psychologist who will provide regular content to the platform.
About Silken Laumann
Silken Laumann is a four-time Olympian and one of Canada’s most inspirational leaders, a bestselling author, and a child and mental health advocate. Silken’s Olympic story is legendary and inspirational. As reigning world champion, Silken fought back from a devastating rowing injury, to win a bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Silken speaks candidly about her athletic success and triumph over physical adversity, but also the intense personal challenges of her past and the fierce determination she applies to living a bold, loving and successful life today.
UNSINKABLE is a not-for-profit project with the goal of collaborating with national and regional health promotion and mental health organizations. UNSINKABLE partners with GoodLife Fitness for expertise in physical activity and mental wellness. To check out UNSINKABLE, please visit WeAreUnsinkable.com or follow @WeAreUnsinkable (Facebook), @unsinkablestories (Instagram) or @BeingUnsinkable (Twitter).