About

The Connection Project offers platforms to share diverse lived experiences with mental health through storytelling and artistic expression. Our mission is to promote well-being by creating events and producing accessible resources to make lasting change within communities. 

We conduct this work by educating the public, social organizations, government and media to increase awareness and to destigmatize the conversations surrounding mental health through community events, educational workshops, and other offerings.

The past four years have revealed the increased need for The Connection Project to reach a wider audience and to be supported in a greater capacity to benefit those navigating the mental health of self, family, and community. 

Our content is highly invaluable and increasingly accessible for anyone with internet access: video footage of the annual event is hosted online for free to the general public. In 2021, we added closed captioning (not auto-generated) and ASL translation embedded into the video. Each year the annual event provides an opportunity for in-person community performance.

On July 15th, 2022, The Connection Project became a Non-Profit Society. The board includes people from various professions and backgrounds, including; previous audience members, support volunteers, and past speakers.

The Connection Project October 2021 Annual Event

The 2021 annual event came together nearly seamlessly. What an honour to witness the supporters, volunteers, and team carry their roles and execute to perfection. This year we saw the beauty in the DIVERSITY of stories and experiences. Here is a short video of a beautiful moment from the evening.

The Connection Project October 2020 Annual Event

The 2020 Connection Project Mental Health Storytelling event was broadcast live from SET,TINES, Sidney BC. Again, stories uplifted audiences, removed stigma and created bonds between hearts. With undeniable courage, speakers generously offered their stories up for witnessing. May they be gifted with increased well-being going forward. 

My intention in 2019 was to inspire JOY through connection. My intention this year, was to create from an intention of UNITY. 2020 offered contrast to every area of life. The dualities of good and bad, right and wrong, as well as love and hate, played out on the world stage just as it did within me. I experienced fear. I sat in the discomfort of the unknown. I grieved. 

Two very special mentors of mine passed away during the first half of 2020. I wanted to honour those relationships and devote myself to work inspired by their teachings. One of those dear ones have visited a couple of times while I worked on the 2020 Connection Project (how delightful to be supported from the other side). 

Sharing a diverse collection of stories within the loving space of the project, was one way to uphold unity. The Connection Project continues to embrace many voices and will find a way to build connection even when it feels impossible. 

The Connection Project Community continues to grow and develop in ways I never imagined. It is with deep appreciation I put this work away for the winter. What will emerge in the new year fills my heart with a good and gentle anticipation. Until then… 

The Connection Project October 2019 Annual Event

Approximately six months after the first Connection Project Event, I sat at home and thought long and hard about what I was going to do with the project going forward. I decided to just sit with it for a while. When the website domain and email renewal notification showed up in my calendar just a few days later, my answer was a resounding yes! The project very clearly needed to happen again. So I booked the same theatre, with no worry about logistics.

My yes, my why, comes as a result of what evolved within me, those participating in the event and the people whose lives the event and subsequent documentary touched. This evolving came in many forms, the most important of which was the healing through Connection. Not only did the performers and audience connect to one another through their stories, but I believe that on a deeper level, each person was able to recognize their own struggles. Regardless of what that struggle looks like, we ALL feel it. When we don’t feel it, we get sick, addicted, depressed, anxious, and suicidal. We fall out of love with life.

My intention last year was to inspire hope through connection. My intention this year, is JOY.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” – Rumi

The Connection Project October 2018 Inaugural Event

After this incredibly difficult winter, perhaps the hardest in my whole life, I’ve come to a new awareness and understanding about my own experience with mental illness. I’ve discovered I must talk about it, and in talking about it, honour all versions of myself; at all ages, in any emotion, encompassing all inner judgments of self. There is always a space for compassion, there is always a space to love a little deeper.

Since I was 15, I’ve struggled to manage anxiety and depression. At 23, I spent time in a psychiatric ward because of a breakdown, complete with hallucinations, thoughts of suicide and self-harm. During this time, I found my ‘rock bottom.’ I met myself in despair unlike any other.

I want to share how I made my way back from that very lonely place. I realize the many gifts that have come my way because of this experience, and most importantly, that I must share my story, to know that I am not alone. There is always HOPE.

The Connection Project is an event inspired by all of this. It is my deeply held hope that this event will illuminate our collective journey toward an expanded awareness of our minds.

With Love,

Emily