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Ontario-based Jamaican psychotherapist wins prestigious University of Regina Alumni Crowning Achieve

MONTEGO Bay-born clinical psychotherapist Latoya T Reid has been creating waves since migrating to Canada in 2015, and her latest achievement has many singing her praises. She is the recipient of the prestigious University of Regina Alumni Crowning Achievement Award for distinguished humanitarian and community service, having built a reputation for leadership, advocacy and volunteerism.

Reid, a registered social worker, is a community activist and leader who has focused her advocacy around one of today's most important issues — anti-racism. Her clinical practice, Altoya The Therapist, focuses on delivering a trauma informed, race-based approach to mental health therapy which has resonated with the black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) community. During the Black Lives Matter movement, Reid's outspoken comments gained her media attention and provided a platform for her to speak on the issue to, among other groups, University of Regina Psychology Graduate Students Association (Anti-Racism Series), Black Lives Matter YXE, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and RaiseHer Community.

During her time as a University of Regina undergraduate student, Reid's benevolence was always on full display. She served as president of the parent student association and collaborated with a local company to offer Christmas hampers to student-parents who were facing financial challenges. Her community service continued as president of the Graduate Students Association when she offered therapy services to students who were facing mental health challenges but were hesitant to access mainstream mental health services or were impeded by other barriers. Reid's efforts not only provided much-needed services for students, but they also helped to break the stigma associated with accessing mental health support within the BIPOC community.

As a graduate student, Reid met with the university's senior leadership to share her findings about gaps in mental health services and how to best bridge them. She was instrumental in helping to establish the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Race and Diversity Committee which assessed the needs for mental health services to improve students' experiences.

Along with other Black Lives Matter organisers, she brought to the Saskatchewan government's attention the gaps in mental health services and stressed the need for more black counsellors and therapists in Saskatchewan.

Reid's advocacy and leadership skills were honed on Jamaican soil. She was instrumental in numerous community outreach missions, youth advocacy and leadership projects. Chief among these were the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College's mission to Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake; the concrete fencing project through the CSJP and the Chill City Community Club in Bottom Pen, Montego Bay; the grass roots football and homework centre in Bottom Pen; and advocacy for anti-oppressive and progressive policies in her role as staff representative at Mount Alvernia Prep School.

Reid has also been a mentor and provided support for new Canadians and international students who find it difficult to assimilate and navigate life in Saskatchewan. She has also sourced furniture and organised holiday meals to welcome new Canadians to the province.

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