Spotlight On: Deri Latimer (2013)

In 2013, Deri Latimer shared her story at TEDxManitoba. We caught up with her on the impact TEDx has had on her life, and what’s changed in the time since. 

At TEDxManitoba 2013, I told a very personal story that I had never shared publicly – about the connection between play, work and mental health. Mostly it was a story about choosing to live well.

At the very moment I was on the TEDx stage delivering my talk, my older brother was in a jail in Ontario. I did not know at that moment if he would live or die – I had already lost two other important men in my life, and I feared he would be next. Although he was not the only person in my story, the fact that his situation was happening ‘live’ – and was so horrible – at the very moment I gave my talk, has anchored that day in my life memory forever.

Since that experience, my video has received over 19K views. Almost weekly, I run into someone who has seen it or who has a story that is in some way similar to mine. A life lost too soon; a marriage shattered by a mysterious change in someone’s behaviour; a personal story of challenge and triumph.

TEDxManitoba was a pivotal moment in my life – personally and professionally. I get feedback regularly from people who are moved by my story. The professionalism of the TEDxManitoba crew who delivered a fantastic experience and product is immeasurable. I am not sure I would have ever shared this story had it not been for the excellence of the TEDxManitoba team.

My life transformed after TED. I can now model for others the power they can achieve by owning their story, by ‘coming out’ with their secrets, and by focusing more on their psychological well-being. Since giving my talk, I have spread the message about the importance of positive mental health. I have inspired others to do the same. And, I have been able to provide substantial donations to support research in mental health because of the momentum gained by my talk.

Two stories stand out: “Jamie” is a first year university student. She saw my talk and reached out to me. She hears voices. She has been afraid to tell people other than her immediate family. Jamie now has a blog, in which she shares her every day experiences dealing with the challenges of her mental health condition.

“Nick” is a 50 year old man. He saw my talk and checked me out online, where he found me on LinkedIn and reached out. Nick is struggling with depression and doesn’t understand what is happening to him. He expressed to me that my talk gave him hope that he could find the help he needs to live a full and happy life.

I am forever grateul to TEDxManitoba for giving me a chance to share my ‘idea worth spreading’. I hope the momentum continues!

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