Andi Sharma

Andi is grateful that she got a second chance at life. She wishes everyone could have the same opportunity, because she knows no one is immune to hardship. Andi’s troubles began with the death of her father, one of her strongest supporters, when she was 19 years old. Andi struggled to overcome her grief and sought ways to alleviate her suffering. She started using cocaine periodically to help numb the pain. What began as a recreational habit soon became a daily routine. Andi would sometimes go several days without sleeping. She started hanging out with a different crowd and grew impulsive and belligerent, distancing herself from her family. She also began missing work and school regularly. Her addiction ultimately cost her two jobs, and her university showed her the door, but not without first trying to help her. Even at that point, Andi remained in denial about her addiction. She did not consider her drug use a problem.

Andi took a realistic approach to recovery. She reduced her drug consumption and cut ties with the friends she did drugs with. To work through the pain she had been masking with drugs, she started seeing a therapist, who helped her overcome her depression. She began to realize she was stronger than her addiction. With each small victory, Andi’s self-esteem grew, and she started gaining the confidence to make decisions. Her efforts did not go unnoticed, and her university agreed to re-admit her. She obtained her degree and got involved in projects she never dreamed of undertaking before. Andi started taking pride in her achievements. She learned to love herself, accept the scars of her past and acknowledge her darker side. She no longer feels tempted to relapse—after what she had been through, she has no desire to relive those tough times.

Community Fund Advisory Committee

Mental health leaders in communities across Canada provide guidance and advice in the selection of Community Fund grant recipients.

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Diversity Fund Circle of Advisors

A circle of advisors, comprised of mental health experts, community leaders and people with lived experience from within Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities assist in the review process and provide advice and consultation on the development and future evolution of the fund.

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