Meet The Team

Meet the Founder:

12987234_488101244732219_5840221814499897607_nNichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, business owner, daughter and friend. She has a Marketing Diploma and a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.

Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.

You can follow Nichole on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin and her Personal Blog.

Meet Melanie P:

IMG_5227Melanie Pickett is a writer and blogger and is currently completing her first nonfiction book. She has battled Crohn’s disease and complications, has a now-healthy son who was born prematurely under challenging circumstances, and survived a 15-year abusive marriage and her first husband’s mental illness and eventual suicide. A wife and mother of two, she loves Red Wings hockey, reading, playing piano, and traveling adventures.

You can follow Melanie on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and her personal Blog.

Meet Alex:

AlexAlex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.

You can follow Alex on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

 Meet Amanda:

amandaAmanda Ogden is from Sydney Australia, and has spent the past 13 years working within the welfare industry in both administration and case management assisting people with mental health issues, mild intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, drug & alcohol, homelessness gain employment. She also loves travelling, creating jewellery, music, friends and family.

You can follow Amanda on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

Meet Julie:

JulieJulie Whitehead currently writes and blogs from Mississippi at her personal blog.   She has been a university lecturer, a disability examiner, and a freelance writer.  She carries a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and blogs to create awareness and help others understand the disease and its effects.

You can follow Julie on Facebook, Twitter or her personal blog.

Meet Melinda:

Melinda-VanRy

Melinda VanRy writes about mental illness and faith on her Fruit of Brokenness blog. She wants everyone to know they have inestimable worth, though she often fails to believe it for herself. Bouts of severe depression have nearly destroyed her but instead make her stronger and give her a desire to help others who struggle with mental illness and faith as she does. Melinda lives in New York with her husband, their three kids, and more cats than she ever wanted. If you’re thinking big city, don’t. The VanRy family makes their home in rural Central New York. Way closer to Canada than New York City. And not far from Lake Ontario, which she loves.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Meet Allyson:

A771C9116D8B405ABE4B32ECB63F7D91Allyson is a published author, blogger, wife and mom to 4 kids. Three of her children are on the autism spectrum. She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks.  On her blog you can find her writing about being an author, her faith and family.  She resides in Missouri with her loving husband and four wonderful children, and three cats. She’s addicted to knitting and coffee.

You can follow Allyson on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Meet Claudette:

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Claudette is a passionate campaigner and activist for mental health stigma and domestic abuse. She believes that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their disability or gender. She has diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder, endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Claudette has a certificate in Management studies.  Her interests include beauty, makeup, animals politics, current affairs and social networking.

You can follow Claudette on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Meet Erika:

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Erika is a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. She has worked as an entertainment & nightlife writer, as well as a model. Her & her husband now live in Indiana with their ferrets. They are very passionate about animal rescue & rehabilitation. She lives with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) PTSD, Depression & Anxiety. Some of her parts struggle with their own individual mental health problems; an ED & OCD to name two. It took many years but she found her voice and now is actively speaking out against the stigma surrounding mental illness and the lack of assistance for those struggling to reach out. In addition, she also lives with some limiting physical health conditions which unfortunately have made working impossible. For now, she is focused on her writing, speaking engagements, painting and her small family.

You can follow Erika on Twitter.

Meet Charlie:

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Charlie is a graduate student pursuing a degree in English and Creative Writing. When she is not doing coursework or writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and dog. She writes both fiction and nonfiction, in particular essays and novel-length works. She blogs daily on her site Decoding Bipolar, with a focus on education and incorporating positive changes in order to live fully while coping with mental illness.

You can follow Charlie on Facebook, Twitter and her personal blog.

Meet Bonnie:

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I have been a Christ follower for over 40 years and do my best to be more like Him.I live with bipolar disorder and while it can be quite disruptive, I seem to manage quite will – at least most days I manage quite well. I believe that mental health issues are the least talked about illness and my goal has always been to be open about my situation and share my successes and yes, even my failures with others.I am a writer with one published book of poetry. I have 4 grown sons and 5 beautiful grandchildren. I am single (happy with that) and try to be as active as possible.

Meet Anita:

captureAnita Levesque is a web and graphic designer, a mental health advocate with lived experience through loved ones; father – bipolar; brother – PTSD, depression, anxiety; mother – PTSD; boyfriend – clinical depression, severe OCD, GAD, personality disorders. The goal with my website, http://mentalillness-doyouknow.com is to focus on personal experiences rather than articles by doctors and medical professionals who haven’t experienced mental illness.  Anita writes articles for several websites on topics such as OCD, Addictions, Suicide, PTSD and more.  She resides in Stoney Creek, Ontario and interests are photography, reading, music, learning, spending time with her family.

You can follow Anita on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Meet Laura:

14958021_10207275228589079_1628123204_o Laura is a lover of reading, writing, sparkly things and whatever purrs, barks or flies. Former helicopter mom, co-dependent and enabler, Laura is now addicted to walking, her family and her iWatch. A teacher by day and writer by night, she is clearly the one learning the most and plan to keep it up until she gets it right. Choosing joy one day at a time and sharing her journey so others can see why it might not be found if we don’t look for it.

You can follow Laura on Facebook, Twitter  and her personal website.

Meet Rob:

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Rob Peach is a freelance risk & security consultant with 34 years behind him in sales and marketing in the City of London and then at Director level in charitable fundraising. His involvement in Defying Shadows is driven by a need to make a difference in an area that is being ravaged by governmental indifference: mental health. He hopes he can bring some challenges that he has had health wise to good use to assist others in whatever way he can not least by talking sense and writing passionately.

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