Last night at Coast Mental Health's 21st annual Courage to Come Back Awards, Vancouver Coastal Health's (VCH) own Erin Emiru was honoured as an award recipient in the Mental Health category.
Erin, a Peer Support Coordinator with VCH Vancouver's Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team, says, “Hope grows by giving hope to other people."
By enmeshing her extensive lived experience with schizophrenia (she started hearing voices at 12 but was officially diagnosed when she was 22 after her first of 14 hospitalizations) with her professional expertise as a neuroscientist (she completed her BSc(Hons) and MSc in Neuroscience between hospital stays) in addition to her frontline peer support work, Erin is changing the conversation around schizophrenia, psychosis and mental health in her community and beyond.
Leanne Maylam, who now works with Erin on the ACT team, saw Emiru through some of the roughest times on her journey when Maylam was a nurse at VGH. Maylam says, “Iadmire Erin. Through her courage, strength and tenacity, she has turned her struggle with her own mental health into a symbol of hope for those with their own struggles. Erin is not a 'schizophrenic,' she is a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a colleague…she is my friend."
“We have all been very fortunate to work alongside Erin here at ACT", adds Stephane Partridge, Manager for MHSU ACT and AOT teams. “She brings with her a passion for our clients and practice that is infectious for everyone who is fortunate enough to work with her. Erin's commitment to client care is matched only by the genuineness with which she approaches both clients and colleagues. We are all extremely proud of this well-deserved celebration of Erin's journey."