Face 2 Face with Stigma

100% Peer Led and Delivered

Face 2 Face with Stigma

Face 2 Face with Stigma is an anti-stigma workshop that is inspired, led, developed, and delivered entirely by people with lived experience of substance use, mental health disorders and homelessness. Together, we use our powerful stories to inspire empathy and compassion, educate and reduce fear in the community.

  • Number of Workshops: 26
  • Number of Participants: 350+
  • Organizations: Victoria Police Department, Victoria Police Board, City of Victoria, University of Victoria, Camosun College, Victoria General Hospital, and Glengarry Hospital
  • Audience: VicPD Police Recruits, VicPD Police Officers, VicPD Police Board and Mayor, Community Support Workers, Bylaw Officers, Nurses, Mental Health and Addictions Students, and Nursing Students
  • Presented at the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) 2021 National Conference on Ending Homelessness
  • Presented at the 2021 BC Housing Central Conference

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Kay Martin

Office: 250-370-1516

Cellphone: 250 580-2751

Email: kmartin@victoriahomelessness.ca

Meet our Team

Hello, my name is Kay Martin and I am the Voices of Experience Coordinator for the Greater Victoria Coalition to end Homelessness.

In my role, I lead and facilitate an anti-stigma program called Face 2 Face with Stigma. I also, coordinate my organization’s Speakers Bureau. More importantly, I am a substance user in recovery, I live with several mental health diagnosis and I have experienced homelessness. All of this has led and enabled me to do the work I do in the community today. I have lived in Victoria for about 15 years and have built relationships with those in all parts of my community.

I am here to amplify the voice of all those who are living in the fringe and shadows of society due to stigma.

Hello, my name is Melissa, my traditional name is Naw-Hea’Mowha and I am a part of the Songhees first nation.

I am a person with lived and living experience of homelessness, addiction and mental health disorders. More recently I am starting a new journey in recovery. At first, I was embarrassed of my life experiences, but now I realize that they shaped me into who I am, taught me valuable lessons and helped me get the jobs I work in today.

I have been involved with Pacific Centre Family Services Association (PCFSA) since I was four years old. I went into art therapy in the older building by the lagoon when I was a child. Then as an adult, I participated in Women Seeking Safety groups and a lot of one-on-one support with great counselors. PCFSA helped me explore new possibilities in my life. By working with a few counselors over the years I have been able to rediscover who I am. I was supported to apply to treatment two times and I have had support applying to get my status card and reclaim my identity. That is why I am so very grateful that PCFSA has been such a big part of my life and I want to give back to the organization in any way I can. For a few years now I have been a Client Representative and a voice of lived experience to help PCFSA programs change lives like it did mine.

Now, I am a Peer Support Worker and Researcher for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and I am on the Community Wellness Task Force Committee for the City of Victoria. I also work as co-facilitator and storyteller for the Face 2 Face with Stigma project. I occasionally work as a Standardized Patient for the Jubilee hospital where we practice culturally safe interactions with students, doctors and patients.  I have lived here on the Island almost my entire life. I love being on our homelands near our family and I love the work that I do with the people in our communities.

Hych’ka Siem.

Hello my name is Leonard, my Indian name is Quart.whey.Tun.

I have lived experiences with homelessness, stigma, discrimination. I am a residential school survivor from the Sixties Scoop as a direct result of a tragic event in which a very close family member died. That was my mother. I have also spent time in prison. My whole life has been institutionalized. I really like being a sounding board and telling my own side of the story of lived and living experience. As a direct result of public forum speeches, I have been able to get a better understanding, support, comfort and positive reactions. Which is what I always needed.

My name is Jarvis, I grew up in Telkwa (Wet’suwet’en territory).

As a teenager, I started working in harm reduction and youth projects as a “youth with lived experience” because of my own path through mental health and substance use. Throughout years of help—and sometimes harm—from our systems and communities, peer-based projects like Face 2 Face With Stigma have been critical for me: they gave me a sense of purpose, belonging, and motivated me to build myself up so I can keep working alongside people that I care about.

From not finishing high school and thinking that I wouldn’t live past 20, I’ve since completed an undergraduate degree, worked in therapeutic services with kids, and held frontline and management roles in peer-led organizations. Along with my role as a Storyteller with Face 2 Face, I now work with neuropsychology laboratories, harm reduction and peer support, and as a Manager of Research and Prevention at the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.


Greetings! My parents named me Bryan in the 1980s.

My life and lived experience includes homelessness in the Victoria area. I am presently a student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Victoria where my research interests include HIV/AIDS, vulnerable populations, and social movements. I presently engage in the community helping persons with disabilities, and I sit on two Councils at the British Columbia Mental Health and Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS).

I continue to gain insights on stigma and stigmatization in relation to mental health, drug taking, and involvement in the criminal justice system – with a bent driven by trauma-informed, Indigenous-informed, and evidence-based research.

In Memorium

In Crisis?:

If you require urgent emotional support, including having thoughts of suicide and other mental health issues, please call Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888.

Youth (under 25 years of age) may access youthspace.ca for online emotional support.

For other resources, including shelter availability, visit bc211.ca