Suzanne Venuta reacts to a standing ovation she received at the end of her TedX Surrey presentation. (via YouTube)

Suzanne Venuta reacts to a standing ovation she received at the end of her TedX Surrey presentation. (via YouTube)

Comox Valley TedX speaker inspires local resilience campaign

When Suzanne Venuta started meeting with Children and Youth Matter Comox Valley, her vision was clear: she wants to see the Comox Valley move towards a trauma-informed lens.

With help from the Comox Valley Community Foundation, the group has taken this vision on as their mission. They have worked together to offer a series of public events and training over the month of May.

“It is hard not to be inspired,” said CYMCV chair Janice Maclaughlin, who has been meeting with Venuta and the rest of the group for seven years. “She shares her perspective so authentically that we all want to be a part of the change she envisions. If we all do our tiny part, big shifts will happen.”

As a part of the campaign the documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope will be screened at Stan Hagen Theatre. Using case studies in adverse child experiences, trauma, and toxic stress, the film explains how these experiences are not only linked to mental and physical health risks over the lifespan, but highlights surprisingly simple effective ways communities can change these outcomes for the better. Suzanne sees the possibility for action here in the Comox Valley.

“It is amazing what we can accomplish when we work together,” said Venuta, referring to the 25 local organizations that have collaborated to make events like the Resilience Film Screening on May 18th possible. “The answers are so simple and we can all be a part of the solution. We just need to spread the word.”

The 60-minute film will be followed by a panel discussion by local experts.

Venuta is an award-winning mental health educator, advocate, consultant and inspirational speaker. She writes and speaks from lived experience on many subjects including women’s issues, mental health, and living with a mental illness. She recently completed a talk for the world-class TEDX Surrey event.

“I had an amazing time giving my talk, and the standing ovation just took the roof off, as there were hoots and hollers and the applause was amazing,” she said. “When I got back down to the green room my fellow speakers gave me a standing ovation….that was very special.”

Venuta’s talk is about the importance of micro-connections for healing. She will be discussing this topic as a panelist at the free film screening of Resilience at Stan Hagen theatre and will be speaking at The Listening Event on May 29 at Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park.

“I dream of a Comox Valley where its common place for service providers/teachers etc. have a basic understanding of how trauma may affect a person,” said Venuta. “A valley where dentists, family physicians, physiotherapists, etc. have an understanding of what triggers a client may have.”

Venuta sees that trauma-informed practice is growing in the Valley but feels there is still room for more understanding.

“It would be nice if this type of knowledge was more widespread. And that one day it is just part of standard practice. I know that it is the sky, but might as well dream.”

For more information about these and other events, visit

Comox Valleyjuror mental health

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