Guest: Asante Haughton
Asante opens up about a childhood that is filled with instability, lack of response, lack of support, and coping in survival mode. He shares his learnings about how life is not linear, it is unpredictable, filled with disappointment and triumphs. He talks about his story through the lens of race, equity, understanding problems and looking for solutions. Asante describes the hope he represented to his family as he had many gifts and talents, how it fell apart when there was no one there to pay attention to his needs and parent him, and how he used his determination to persevere through tremendously difficult odds, including working through serious mental health challenges, caretaking for his mother who had mental health challenges and even other difficulties that she tried to hide from her children. He let his guard all the way down as he spoke with vulnerability to share the emotional turbulent world he lived through, what it was like to feel all alone, confused, nowhere to turn, feeling that anyone he could talk to wouldn’t have any semblance of what he felt. He turned to writing hip-hop lyrics and basketball as a way to process anger and regulate other emotions, he later found courage to talk to friends about what was going on, and much later in adult years he was able to reach out and trust the supports provided by professionals. His key message to the listeners is that: never give up; all pain is temporary — whether it is for a minute, one week, one year, or ten years, it does end; go to therapy and you can launch your rocket.
Guest Bio: Asante is a mental health advocate devoted to changing the world. He is focused on amplifying the stories of everyday people to illuminate gaps in the system while working to build bridges between community members and policy makers in order to find solutions to challenges together. Asante is the co-founder of the Reach Out Response Network, an organization advocating for non-police led mobile crisis emergency response. Asante is also a 2x TEDx speaker and a CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) Difference Maker, awarded with the distinction of being one of the top 150 mental health influencers in Canada.
When Asante is not speaking and advocating, he is designing, managing and facilitating peer support training programs at Stella’s Place, a youth mental health service agency in Toronto and hosting the web show, Cypher, which turns peer support stories into original songs by Juno nominated musicians. Young at heart, silly, self-deprecating and able to find a sports analogy for virtually anything, Asante tries not to take himself too seriously despite being engaged in the serious work of change-making!