Winner of the Mental Health Association Hope & Courage Award and National Alliance on Mental Illness Next Step Award, Hufsa Ahmad dedicates her life to smashing the stigma of mental health as professional speaker, social worker, advocate, and standup comedian. Hufsa uses her personal and professional experience with mental illness as a source of knowledge to educate and empower audience members.
Hufsa is available for: interviews, podcasts, keynotes, guest speaking, small events, and tailored presentations.
Major speaking engagements
-TEDx Ranney School, “Relapse is Part of Recovery” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVkL3glwL8g)
-TEDx Crescenta Valley HS
-60 minute keynote and training for Simplus
-90 minute keynote and training for Mendocino County Behavioral Health
-Keynote speaker for the Independent Living Conference in Sacramento
-90 minute workshop on mental health and women empowerment for high schoolers
-60 minute keynote for South Dakota State University
Presentation #1: Relapse is Part of Recovery: Mental Illness in College
Through this hour-long storytelling and presentation, attendees will learn about the signs of mental illness, mental health resources, self-care strategies, and leave with a sense of hope and empowerment. Hufsa shares her recovery from co-occurring mental illness and alcohol abuse to demonstrate that the lowest points in our lives are opportunities for growth, and not times to be ashamed of. Her story applies to all college students given that she developed mental illness while she was at Harvey Mudd College pursuing her Bachelors of Chemistry. She details the trials of being a college student while experiencing mental health challenges and how she transformed from being a victim of her illness to a champion of recovery. This powerful presentation is followed by a Q&A presentation.
Presentation #2: Stigma Smash!: Eliminating the Shame Surrounding Mental Illness
Mental illness is not the end-all. It is not something to be ashamed of. Most of all, recovery is possible. Attendees will walk away feeling empowered with a better understanding of mental illness, more positive views of people with mental illness, and knowledge of how to “stigma smash” (Hufsa’s signature phrase). Much like racism, sexism, transphobia, and Islamophobia, “stigma” is the mental health community’s word for the shame and discrimination associated with mental health challenges. In this hour-long interactive workshop, Hufsa teaches audiences how to combat stigma. She explains the Recovery Model, a new paradigm of viewing mental illness in a positive, hopeful, and empowering light. She describes Recovery Language, a way to actively change our language and shift our perceptions of people with mental illness. She shares her powerful story of overcoming self-stigma to view mental illness not as a deficit, but as a strength.
Presentation #3: How to Share You Have Mental Illness (and How to Listen)
Attendees will learn how to self-disclose and how to respond when someone is self-disclosing. They will also learn the process for deciding whether to self-disclose. In this 30-60 minute workshop, Hufsa shares her personal experiences with self-disclosure and offers practical tips and guidance for the process of deciding whether to self-disclose (and to what degree). Conversely, Hufsa also discusses how to appropriate receive this information and be supportive. This program is perfect for: Individuals with mental health conditions, friends and family members of individuals with mental health conditions, and anyone who is not sure how to have a conversation about mental health.
Presentation #4: Stigma Smash for Peer Specialists!
Peer specialists are unique workers in the mental health field, who use their lived experience with mental illness to connect and educate. As someone who has done peer work for 7 years, Hufsa carries a special insight into what the position entails and what strikes this population the most. Attendees will walk away feeling empowered, understand self-stigma, learn how to combat burnout, and obtain knowledge of how to “stigma smash” (Hufsa’s signature phrase). She describes Recovery Language, a way to actively change our language and shift our perceptions of people with mental illness. Lastly, she shares her powerful story of overcoming self-stigma to view mental illness not as a deficit, but as a strength.
Every presentation can be tailored upon request.
For College/University Bookings
Please use this form to contact Hufsa. You can also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.