CHelsea ricchio

Chelsea Ricchio is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the SPEAK OUT blog. She is also the Communications Manager for Healthy Minds Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2015 with a BA in English Literature and Book & Media Studies. She was the former president of the student group Active Minds at UofT, which hosts SPEAK OUT events on campus (from which this blog takes its name). She was diagnosed with Dysthymia and Social Anxiety. She is 23 and lives in Toronto with her cat Genie. 




Valentina Sisti is the Assistant Editor for SPEAK OUT blog. She is a fourth year Communications Major and Environmentvallal Studies Minor at York University. In 2015, she was selected as an ambassador for York University’s Dean’s Circle of Student Scholars which recognizes students with outstanding academic achievements. When she is not studying or volunteering on campus, she enjoys reading, catching up on current events, listening to music (preferably Kanye or Vampire Weekend), and hanging out with her dog Joey.


Sarah Wong

11128270_1059981437351925_1424450206_nHerro! I’m a student going into my second year at the University of Toronto studying Psychology and Neuroscience, with a little bit of History and Philosophy of Science thrown in the mix. I’m an executive member of the clubs Active Minds UofT and AFTER UofT, and I contribute to other mental health advocacy efforts on campus. I’m also a bubble tea barista, an avid podcast listener, and I kinda wanna get back into graphology again. I have depression, generalized anxiety, and a slight lactose sensitivity 🙂

Ayesha Khalid11198678_10204065447150843_122543266_n

Ayesha is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto, majoring in Psychology and completing a double minor in Cinema Studies and Sociology. She enjoys watercolor painting, fantasy fiction, and crime dramas. She was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression and Social Anxiety.

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MindfulAide is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence (Hons.). She is a coordinator and administrator at Ryerson University, and a practicing Bön Buddhist. As a survivor she is a passionate volunteer in multiple communities, regularly seeking out other survivors of sexual assault and violent crime to provide support. She enjoys video games, crafting, art, and reading. She has been diagnosed with chronic and complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. You can find more of her work at

Nathalie Pye

Nathalie Pye is currently studying event planning at George Brown. When not studying, working or running off to a foreign country she likes to read, spend time with her friends, and sit on the internet for longer than she should. Nathalie has suffered from anxiety and depression and has recently become interested in feminism. You can find more of her writing at


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Rachel Wong is a Communications and International Studies student at Simon Fraser University. Aside from Speak Out, Rachel is also a regular contributor for the Student Life Network and SFU’s student newspaper The Peak. She loves going on foodie adventures, kicking back with friends and telling other people’s stories – all while writing her own. Her dream is to read off a teleprompter for a living one day. Rachel hopes to help change the way society looks at mental illness one word at a time. You can find more of Rachel’s work at

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Lachlan is a student of natural medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and a prospective student of contemplative psychotherapy at the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Toronto. She combines her learning from both alternative medicine and buddhist-influenced psychotherapy to develop a new way to address mental health concerns in a truly holistic way- with mind, body and spirit. Her professional interest blossomed out of her own struggles with depression and anxiety, helped greatly by her practices in meditation and ecstatic dance. Lachlan is a spirit, a writer and a traveler who loves the smell of Nag Champa.

For more info on Naturopathic Medicine and Contemplative Psychotherapy, see

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Institute for Traditional Medicine 

Zakiya Kassam12312232_10208039303806073_238423358_n

Zakiya has her degree in journalism from Ryerson University and currently works as a freelance content writer based in Toronto. Zak is a dedicated journal-er and enjoys writing and reading fiction, particularly science fiction, in her free time. Mental illness is something that has touched her life and the lives of her loved ones, so she is supportive of anything that brings attention to and provides new perspectives about mental health.


ERIN MCLEANFB_IMG_1449697414400

20 year old Torontonian. Firm believer in using stacked books as furniture, telling people how you feel by writing poetry they will most likely never actually read, and the Oxford comma. The only thing preventing me from spending all of my awake existence in cafés is the fact that I can’t bring my dog inside. Waiting for the day when I meet someone who gives me feelings equivalent to the ones I experience when I am reading my favourite book while drinking the perfect cup of tea.


Chava Saunders

Chava Saunders is a recent graduate from Ryerson University’s Psychology program. She will be starting her Master’s degree in the fall. When she isn’t repeatedly checking her doorknobs, she enjoys documentaries, cycling, and Reddit. Chava Saunders is a pseudonym.


JAYNE WANGAvatar (2)

Jayne (or Jane) Wang is a 20-something-or-other year old living in Toronto, Canada. She has a proclivity for making up nicknames and odd noises when frustrated. A recent graduate of the Master of Social Work program at the University of Toronto, Ja(y)ne has fallen into the world of freelance researching. She is currently a research assistant at the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange (YouthRex) and the Wellesley Institute. In her spare time, Ja(y)ne enjoys meditating, running, writing, and binge-watching bad TV while eating Sriracha-flavoured snacks.


Charlotte Rauchbergerlogo-150x150

Charlotte is SPEAK OUT’s graphic designer. She created our beautiful logo that you see at the top of the page as well as our graphics for our social media pages! Charlotte has a BDes in 3D- Environmental Design from OCAD university and is also the Creative Director for By Three Design. Charlotte is a multi-talented graphic designer, photographer, and more. You can contact her at