Myriam Roy

Myriam Roy

Becoming an Agent of Change

Myriam Roy has dedicated a good part of her life to helping others. She jumps at every opportunity to aid those around her. The 22-year-old Applied Psychology student is involved in her community as a certified associate director for a holistic educational program specializing in anxiety and depression recovery, as well as being a yearly chair member of the Mental Health and Wellness Week committee at Bishop’s University. Her passion shines through when she talks about her volunteering history. “Life experiences are important to me,” she says, “and these fit well with my studies because I will be working with clients in my future career.”

Myriam will be spending two months in Togo, a small country in Africa. She was inspired to apply for the B.E.S.T. Project Fund after seeing the mental health needs of the population and learning about their views of mental illness. This project will provide her with the chance to learn and give back to a community in need. “This is an opportunity for me to bring together what I’ve learned in my classes and share it with others”, she says.

Myriam will be shadowing a psychologist and medical doctor as well as developing a mental health component to a mobile medical health clinic. “I will have the chance to meet clients and assess their needs, and this will help me understand cultural differences and the ways people express their symptoms”, she explains. “There is a stigma that needs to be addressed, and I hope to tackle it by creating awareness campaigns to open up conversations and encourage people to reach out for help.”

One of the challenges the dynamic student will face is the cultural differences between African and North American societies. “Togo is community-oriented, whereas we live in a more individualistic society,” she explains, “Studying these differences will enable me to not only learn about the culture, but also how to articulate and adapt my resources to help someone with different viewpoints than my own.”

In the future, Myriam hopes to create a humanitarian organization after she has completed her academic career in clinical or counseling psychology. “My long-term goal is to start an organization that provides mobile clinics and mental health services to rural communities in Africa, and potentially around the world”, she says, “But before that, I hope to bring back knowledge from my project to the Bishop’s community and hopefully open doors for students and encourage them to volunteer in places with limited health resources.”