Laura Thomas of Niagara Falls is doing something for mental health.
Through her business Focus Fix Fit, the mother of two is trying to tackle mental health issues in a different way, by holding free online “tele-summits” where people can listen to her interviews in which mental health experts discuss a variety of mental health issues and ways to overcome them.
Thomas, who herself suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, said the goal is to help encourage and inspire those struggling with their own mental health by sharing stories and methods of how other people have overcome their challenges.
The interviews rely on the knowledge and expertise of the speakers and have covered a range of topics like the effects fitness, music and meditation can have on mental health, as well as addressing behaviours like self-sabotage.
Thomas said a notable name she’s interviewed is Tania DeJong, a soprano opera singer from Australia who has been on Ted Talks and shares the message of how singing can lift the mood and chemically increases function in the brain.
Another guest was Canadian Terrance Kosikar, a survivor of PTSD and addictions, who now devotes his life to living in the outdoors and runs a camp that helps other “break the chains” of stigma.
Darcy Patrick, local author of “Why I Run” was also a speaker.
“These interviews are real and raw, these are people who talk the talk and walk and the walk of mental health and are now living the life of their dreams.”
Thomas says her goal is to help people “remember who they are” — something she once lost touch with.
“I’m a college graduate, I had a successful career, I was married and had my children, and all in all, I thought I had my life figured out,” said Thomas.
“Then the floor was taken out from under me and I no longer knew who I was. I felt lost, alone, suffered with depression, anxiety, nightmares and no appetite for life.”
Thomas was diagnosed with PTSD three years ago.
“My purpose of this summit is to show people that everyone has their struggles, some more significant than others, but we all have the ability to live beyond a diagnosis,” she said.
“I let my diagnosis control me, define me and hold me hostage for so long, as did many of my speakers, and I want to show people that once you take that first step, it is the first of many to regaining your power.”
The sign-up page for her free online tele-summit can be found here.
The summits will be on from Dec. 11 to 15. Each person will be emailed the interviews they have access to for each day. Some of the speakers have also provided gifts to the registrants, including digital books and chances to go see live presentations.
Thomas said her hashtags for the summit are #BelieveYourWorth and #FierceasHell.