Participant Profile: Corey Ferguson

Corey FergusonOn May 23, 300 runners will take off on the runways of the Fredericton International Airport to raise money for mental health programs and reduce stigma of mental illness. Why is the work of the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick so important? Corey Ferguson shares her story below:

“I have lived with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, certainly before I knew there were words to describe it or that it would be the source of so many challenges in my life. With no public or school-based education on mental health issues I mistook my emotional distress as typical teenage angst despite deep depression and suicidal ideation.

I left my home town of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia to study at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick where I played on the women’s rugby team for four years, winning an ACAA Championship in my final season. During my time at STU I struggled with my mental health challenges which only worsened. I continually fought with suicidal ideation as my depression and anxiety interfered with my academic, social and personal functioning, culminating in two separate hospitalizations in 2009 and 2010. I was forced to abandon my studies only 9 credit hours short of qualifying for my B.A.

I spent two years focussing on my own recovery with intensive support from the inter-disciplinary team and Day Therapy program offered at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton and my personal support network. Eventually I chose to move to Moncton in 2010 seeking employment I felt I could sustain, slowly progressing to full time work. I now have five years of front-line client based work experience, including four years working for Youth Impact as a residential counsellor for youth with emotional and behavioural challenges.

In September 2013 I took the risk of leaving my rewarding full time employment which was critical to my stabilization, recovery and sense of purpose and returned to university to complete my degree. I finally graduated from STU in March of 2014 with a B.A. (majors Psychology & Criminology, minor Sociology). In September of 2014 I was fortunate enough to join the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick as a Regional Community Worker (Zone 1), allowing me to use my personal experience and passion to engage and educate communities about mental wellness and illness.

Physical activity plays a crucial role in recovery and mental wellness maintenance. During times where I struggled significantly, being involved in team sports and being physically active kept me afloat and connected to those around me which was more important than I can describe. Physical activity and sports also served as a positive coping mechanism and emotional outlet, as well as providing me with structure while improving my mood and self-worth.”

Corey is joining us for the YFC Runway Run on May 23. Pledge your support here.