Mental Health Check With Lorelei Williams

Lorelei Williams is an Unsinkable ambassador — helping us educate, empower and connect people struggling with their mental health. Below is a Q&A to get to know her better!

What are you working on right now?

I’m doing quite a few things right now. First, I have to mention that I’m a single mom raising two beautiful and amazing children which is one of the hardest jobs in the world. We do everything with no pay and it’s totally worth it!

I’m back at Capilano University trying to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Business Management which is something I was working on before I starting doing my advocacy work. I really want to finish this before I go to law school.

I’m also the Program Manager with The Restoring Circles Project which is an Indigenous Ally Transformative Justice Project. Which basically means we seed community talking/healing circles/workshops to prevent/end violence. We also collaborate with other programs and trainings that specialize in practice-specific teachings such as Land-based Trauma Healing and more.

I am a Research Assistant at Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI), located on Wiyot and Ohlone territories, in Northern California, where I’m developing “Butterflies in Spirit: Dance, Healing, MMIWG” – a project aimed at producing an understanding and awareness of how dance can be utilized as healing practice for both Indigenous survivors of violence and their families, as well as those impacted by the MMIWG crisis, through research, skill-building, and public awareness.

I’m on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Coalition, which is a diverse group of more than 25 urban community and political advocacy groups and family members of MMIWG.

I’m always doing work with my dance group Butterflies in Spirit which is my dance group that raises awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. MMIWG2S

How have you been handling your mental health/ health in COVID?

A lot meditation and using my land-based trauma training from the Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy on Complex Trauma course that I took with Shirley Turcotte. I love the water, going to the water really helps.

What are some of your go-to strategies for dealing with anxiety or burnout?

Smudging, going to the water, meditating. Again, this is where my trauma training really helps me out. Talking to the amazing supports I have. Sometimes I call them crying but they’re always there for me. Talking to Elder’s always helps too. It’s so hard not being able to be with our Elder’s right now because of COVID but we need to protect them.

What advice do you have for young people right now who might be struggling?

Connect to your culture, people (even if it’s through zoom) and with Elder’s. Connecting with Elder’s and people in your community always helps. There are so many people in our communities out there willing to help. You just have to take that step and reach out. Whatever areas you’re struggling in, find an expert in that area to connect with who can help you. If you can connect with someone who has taken the Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy on Complex Trauma course, even better. There are so many graduates across Canada and down into the States.