Breaking The Cycle
Ali Kahn

Listen to Ali's podcast by clicking on any of these platforms

Ali Kahn tells the story of his decades-long struggle to open up a dialogue both with others and within himself about unacknowledged – and intergenerational – mental health issues. Growing up with limited access to social services and a mistrust of the system, Ali slipped through the cracks. After years of living on the streets and battling substance abuse, Ali realized that these were just symptoms of a root cause: emotional trauma. Now an established artist, Ali traces his trajectory from isolation to community, from homelessness to hopefulness, and from silence to speech.

Participant Reflections

Breaking The Cycle
Ali Kahn

Each workshop produces a creative participant reflection – a personal take away from the story they just heard – that is voluntarily shared with the wider community.
We believe that personal narratives have the power to connect individuals across socioeconomic boundaries, and that the rich creative ability of our community is the most effective tool we can wield against the stigma that prevents necessary social change.

Featured Artist

Breaking The Cycle
Ali Kahn


Darlene Archibald

We seem to all have the same concerns. Most of us have been told that we weren’t doing life right, even if it was just when your teacher said, “Darlene talks a lot and could use her work time more effectively”. Or how many of us were told, “You’re not living up to your potential”.

I look like I have it all together on the outside. Many of us do. Do you know of anyone that is putting a smile on their face and they are really just trying to make it through the day? It might be you. It was often me. I am in a much better place now. I never thought I would struggle in life. I don’t know why I thought I was immune to things. I am not. What I noticed when I was listening to the other speakers was we’ve all been judged. And we carry those judgements with us. They colour who we think we are. And they are often hard to shake. When we let ourselves into each others lives we are presented with an opportunity. We can lift each other up; acknowledge each others existence and celebrate our strengths. And we can authentically say to each other, “I am glad you are still here.”

Featured Student

Breaking The Cycle
Ali Kahn


Tahani Peters

5th year, Psychology Major, University of Victoria

“This past week I heard the story of Ali Khan. His story was about discovering and accepting yourself. His story taught me about the importance of trusting your community to support you through your journey.

As an individual I feel moved to work on myself and support others in their self improvement.

As a community we need to accept all of our community members as fallible but capable people that deserve empathy and support.”

Community Ally

Breaking The Cycle
Ali Kahn


Haley Clausing

Youth Counsellor

Haley Clausing is a Youth Counsellor in Victoria, British Columbia interested in understanding how therapy can improve the well being of youth and children facing adversity in their life.

Listen to Haley's response on youtube: