Virtual Think Tanks
A Series of Think Tanks on Brain Injury, Mental Health, and Addictions.
Survivors of brain injury and their families have always had a voice – but they haven’t always been heard. This was the place for them to speak and to be heard and for all of us to learn about their experiences with mental health, addictions, and brain injury.
The needs of people and the services available to them vary from region to region. We were able to connect to hear what other agencies are doing.
Real stories to shift the conversation to find real solutions.
Every community and the people who reside there have unique needs. A cookie-cutter approach for services is dismissive.
We are promoting a meet-in-the-middle approach to strengthen communities in addressing the intersections of mental health, addictions, and brain injury.
The BC Heads Together Think Tanks brought together brain injury survivors, family members, service providers, decision-makers, and other stakeholders for a series of four virtual sessions in 2020 focusing on:
Real People, Real Stories
Rehabilitation and Community Support
Research and Prevention
1.5 Million Canadians live with a brain injury.
Lack of services and supports attribute to:
Mental Health Issues
The unintended consequences of brain injury cost our country billions in emergency and health care services. If we do not include brain injury in every conversation we will never have a 100% solution to mitigating these social issues.
Meet A Few of Our Speakers
Geri Iininaatoáákii Bemister-Williams, MA
Geri is a behavioral scientist and a recognized expert on trauma, adverse childhood experiences, substance abuse and associated issues provincially, nationally, and internationally. Geri has been appointed to the Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse Expert Advisory Committee and the B.C. Recovery Council. She has extensive therapeutic work with vulnerable and at-risk clients including infants, children, substance abuse disorder, survivors of childhood trauma, domestic violence survivors, and sexual and mental disorder offenders. Geri is from the Siksika Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy. See Geri on Intervention Canada!
Dr. Don Castaldi
Dr. Don Castaldi has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a clinical advisor to Bill’s Place in Nanaimo, BC. Dr. Castaldi specializes in attachment, trauma and forensics. Hear and learn about Dr. Castaldi’s Supporting Individuals through Valued Attachment (SIVA) model, which guides systemic thought and accountability while actively valuing individuals being supported to ensure sustainable change.
Dr. Elizabeth Plant, BA MD CCFP dISAM
Dr. Plant is a longtime resident of the Cowichan Valley. Dr. Plant has completed the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use addiction medicine fellowship. Her role currently includes the Cowichan District Addiction Medicine Consult Service (AMCS), AMCS Community, outreach at the overdose prevention site, and in developing substance use supports for youth.
Dr. Julia Schmidt
Dr. Schmidt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (OSOT) at the University of British Columbia. She obtained her BSc(OT) at the University of Alberta and her PhD at the University of Queensland, Australia, focusing on cognitive interventions for people with traumatic brain injuries.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia and Vancouver Foundation.