The Sashbear Foundation  |  2021 Summer Newsletter

Summer 2021

In this issue:

  • From tragedy to advocacy and action

  • 2021 Sashbear Web-Walk—Final Results

  • Recap of Sharing Hope: a Live Celebration

  • Sashbear is Making Waves for Mental Health

  • Sashbear in the Media

  • Truth and Reconciliation: Open Minds (Part 2)

  • Educational Webinar Series Update

  • Research Study Recruitment

From tragedy to advocacy and action

Today marks ten years since Sasha Menu Courey lost her battle against Borderline Personality Disorder.

Today marks ten years since Sasha Menu Courey lost her battle against Borderline Personality Disorder. Soon after, the movement that would be nicknamed Sashbear started, literally making waves around mental health circles, mobilizing families, loved ones and mental health professionals to do more, to remove the stigma surrounding emotion dysregulation and improve access to services. The ambitious goal was to increase mental health capacity while educating the general population to learn and use skills that could transform their own lives. And the plan is working; dissemination of skills has already helped the lives of thousands impacted by emotion dysregulation— families are feeling more empowered, less alone.

And, sometimes, there are battles that are lost, so on this day we remember all those we lost too soon along the way, and we want to stand with their families in solidarity. Their story, their voice and their work helps remove the stigma around suicide and helps them on their new journey.

Whatever your journey may be, you are not alone, you are part of this wave of passionate supporters whose love and determination compels them to pay it forward to others by helping to propagate these skills so that no family is left behind. A heartfelt thank you to all of you—Sashbear is your making.

Let's continue the good work...

In Skills and Hope

The Menu-Courey family

Thanks to all our participants and donors, we have vastly surpassed our fundraising goal of $75,000, and raised over $133,000!!



1st Place: 
Team Mia—$10,225.00

2nd Place: 
The KMD Runner’s Club—$8,479.00

3rd Place: 
FC 2021 Group K—$6199.00


Honorable Mentions:

Fans of Noah Reid—$5,001.88



1st Place: 
Neil Forester—$9,400.00

2nd Place: 
Mark Hunter—$4,224.00

3rd Place: 
Katie Wong—$4,200.00


Honorable Mentions:           

Simone Goldsmith—$4,090.00

JoAnne Raditz—$2,746.00


Watch a video montage of 2021 participant submissions here.

President’s Message

In the midst of the pandemic, Sashbear’s 2021 Web-Walk began as a follow-up to last year’s first Web-Walk online event. And then, something special happened along the way, as the Sashbear family gathered in support of those who are struggling and those who love them. We participated together, in isolation, with the unstoppable vision of continuing the labour of love that is raising awareness about mental health and supporting those in need, leaving no family behind.

The overwhelming support you have all shown has been heartwarming and humbling. More than 200 determined participants registered for the walk and fundraised like never before, nearly doubling our original fundraising goal of $75,000 to reach just over $133,000. They did so by reaching out to family and friends, posting on social media and sharing their stories. Your efforts have not only raised funds but have raised awareness to help defeat the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. The voices of those who have lost someone were joined together with those who continue on their journey—all of us are generating hope and skills, together as one.

Sashbear is yours, it is the fruit of the compassion you have for yourself and for others. The success of the 2021 month-long Web-Walk is also yours. Take a moment to celebrate what you have done—a well deserved thank you to all participants, to those who shared their stories and to those who supported them by pledging.

A Sashbear hug to all of you,

Lynn Courey,

President and co-founder of The Sashbear Foundation

A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this happen!!

Kayla Menu-Courey, Patrick Godin, JoAnne Raditz, Christiane Devaud, Doreen Hyndman, Mike Menu, Lynn Courey, Lisanne Thomas, Jennifer Carpenter, Alice Eastman and Sandi Mariotti.

We truly hope that the walk gave those who participated a sense of belonging while having to stay apart. And may we all continue to practice self care and stay active all year long! See you next year!!

Sharing Hope: a Live Celebration

To cap off the month-long Web-Walk fundraiser event, hundreds gathered online to watch “Sharing Hope: a Live Celebration” this past May 30th at 4PM EST.

The celebration began with a touching land acknowledgment followed by gracious hosts mixing the passionate and compelling voices and images from world leaders in the mental health field, families, loved ones and musicians. All together they became a symphony of hope and celebration delivered to help remove stigma about mental health and achieve togetherness by gathering not only as a community but as part of the Sashbear family. It was a beautiful and heartfelt experience, a fitting end to the month long Web-Walk of 2021.

Here's a recording of the entire event as posted on Sashbear’s YouTube channel :

We would like to thank the following individuals who made this live celebration event a success:

Hosted by: John Ralston, Munira Premji

Guest Speakers:
Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD, Blaise Aguirre, MD, Shelley McMain, Ph.D., C.Psych.

Musical Performances:
T Thomason,  Bryce Thomas,  Rachel Raditz  

Land Acknowledgement: Carolyn Humphreys Viducis

Mindfulness Poem Read by: Karen Waddell

Video Testimonials Provided by:

Sarwat Hammoud, Jenn Thomson, Elysa Nolte, David Niro

Sashbear Board Members: Lynn Courey, Terry Crosby, Julie Jomphe

Video Editors: Mike Menu, Ellen Desrues

Technical Support: Doreen Hyndman, Kathleen Niro

Artwork: JoAnne Raditz

Project Manager: Lisanne Thomas

THANK YOU to our 
2021 Web-Walk sponsors!

Support from our sponsors allowed us to have a very successful event that raised record funds and helped keep our community together during isolation. Your support matters.

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Sashbear is making waves

Qualitative Analysis

Evaluating the effectiveness of the 
Family Connections program for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges, part II: A qualitative analysis

Click here to read >

Sashbear in the media

Media coverage of Sashbear's work continues with stories in CityNews Toronto, L'express, iheartradio and Digital Journal. Here are a few highlights:

May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month.

Founders of Sashbear Foundation Lynn Courey and Mike Menu are raising awareness and funds with a web-walk in rememberance of their daughter Sasha. Read more>

Supporting family members of those dealing with mental health issues

An organization is helping family members of those dealing with mental health issues … See More

How a young woman’s death is shaping mental health support for families today

In relation to mental health awareness out of a tragedy comes a new campaign designed to promote the importance of... Read more>

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada and June 21st is Indigenous Peoples Day.

We acknowledge that the article below contains sensitive content and may be triggering to some. We also honour that this is not "history", that this is happening right now and encourage you to read and research what you can.

Truth and Reconciliation—Open Minds (Part 2)

Challenging Preconceptions and a New Way of Thinking

by Terry Crosby, Sashbear Board Director of Indigenous Relations

As an organization and board members of The Sashbear Foundation, we have committed ourselves to being active participants in the process of Truth and Reconciliation for the Indigenous peoples of Canada. I want to invite our readers to join us in this journey of understanding the past wrongs, looking to the future with hope and contributing to the healing of relationships.

I have had to do a bit of mindfulness and self-care this week for myself.

I am writing at the beginning of June at a time when, just over a week ago, it was announced the devastating news of 215 Indigenous children un-counted for were located on the grounds of what was once the site of Canada’s largest residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Just prior to joining in on the Sashbear Web-Walk on May 30th, I got a voice message from my mom who was sobbing about the news of the recent discovery. The reason it affected my mom so deeply is because she is a residential school survivor. It has only been in the last five years that my mom has begun to express her experience of what happened at residential schools. It is brave and takes courage to share stories of pain and trauma. We need to listen and honour the people who share their stories because it is a difficult thing to open up about abuse, but it gives a voice to their experience. There will not be true reconciliation and healing if we are not willing to reflect on and understand the past harm that has been inflicted on Indigenous people and their communities. Opening our hearts is showing understanding and empathy whereas opening our minds is about new learning and growth.

Continue reading>

Educational Webinar Series

Upcoming Webinars

Skills for Families

Dr. Alan Fruzzetti—co-developer of the Family Connections program, joins us to highlight DBT skills that are helpful for families. Please submit questions in advance.

Dr. Fruzzetti is an internationally recognized clinician, researcher, and trainer in the areas of DBT, validation, and DBT with parents, couples and families, and the co-creator of the Family Connections program. He has developed multiple successful DBT programs for various clinical populations and families and has authored more than 100 research and clinical papers and book chapters.

Wednesday, July 28 at 7pm Eastern Time


Dialectics and Finding Balance

Gillian C. Galen, PsyDProgram Director at 3East Adolescent DBT Intensive Residential, McLean Hospital and Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry

Gillian C. Galen, PsyD, is a senior child and adolescent psychologist specializing in dialectical behavior therapy. She has extensive experience diagnosing and treating adolescents and young adults who struggle with emotion dysregulation, anxiety, depression, trauma, and self-endangering behaviors, such as self-injury and suicidal behaviors. She is the co-author with Dr. Blaise Aguirre of several popular books on DBT, including the recent DBT for Dummies.

September 22, 7-8pm Eastern Time


New Webinar Recordings

"I know what to do, I just can't do it!"—Targeting the Challenges of Using Skills

Blaise Aguirre, MD—Medical Director @3East Continuum @3East Continuum at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Aguirre is an expert in child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy including dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and medication evaluation and management. He is nationally and internationally recognized for his extensive work in the treatment of mood and personality disorders in adolescents. Dr. Aguirre is the author of several books and lectures regularly in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East on borderline personality disorder and DBT.


You can find the list of past and future presentations on the website under Resources. We recommend that you subscribe to The Sashbear Foundation YouTube channel to receive notifications as new recordings are published.

Another webinar of interest, offered by ON-BPD

Treating PTSD among Individuals at High Risk for Suicide: An Introduction to the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Prolonged Exposure (DBT PE) Protocol

Dr. Sara Schmidt—Associate Director, Trauma and Suicide Treatment Research Lab, VA Puget Sound Health Care System

June 24, 7pm Eastern


Research Study Recruitment

The TULiP Research Lab at York University is currently recruiting for two studies about BPD and relationships. If you are interested in participating in either of these studies, please contact the researchers using the emails noted for each study. (Click images to view enlarged flyers)

Are you close with someone who has been diagnosed with a personality disorder?

The first study will look at the experiences of people who are close to someone with BPD. This can be any type of relationship, e.g., partners, family members, spouses, friends. The person with BPD is not required to participate. You will be asked to participate in a brief online study that involves answering questions about yourself and your close other with BPD. This will involve completing three monthly questionnaires about your and your close other’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, and completing a brief measure of your feelings and your close other’s behaviours every day on your smart phone for three weeks. More information is available in the attached flier. If you are interested in participating, please email for more information.

Do you have borderline personality disorder? Are you in a romantic relationship?

This study looking for individuals between the ages of 18 and 17 who have a romantic partner, and both partners are able and willing to: participate in an ongoing treatment study for between six and 12 weeks; complete questionnaires about emotions, thoughts, and behaviours; complete a structured interview that will assess your emotional and psychiatric history; attend couple therapy sessions with their partner complete a brief measure of their feelings every day on their smart phone for five weeks. You will be compensated up to $235 for your participation. If you are interested, please email

Studies by IN-ROADS (International Network for Research Outcomes in Adolescent Depression):

IN-ROADS (International Network for Research Outcomes in Adolescent Depression) is a research project that looks into which outcomes (things that changed with treatment, like a person's energy levels or mood) matter most when treating youth depression. This study is recruiting family members to participate in a one-time, 90-minute virtual workshop between June and July 2021 to provide your perspective on the most important outcomes that should be included in this core outcome set. You will receive a $25 gift card for your participation

The IN-ROADS Initiative also has a parallel study which aims to understand what outcomes youth feel are important to measure in depression treatment studies. They are looking for input of youth aged 12 to 24 years, through participation in virtual workshops. Learn more at: 

Help us continue to make waves

“It's a lifeline for the drowning—
giving you tools and hope to manage.”


We are sincerely grateful for your donations—for helping us make waves for mental health.

The objective of The Sashbear Foundation is to lead a mental health reform by promoting awareness for the need of early prevention, recognition, timely intervention and access to affordable treatment of individuals with emotional dysregulation. The Foundation offers Family Connections™, an evidence-based group program that provides education, skills training, and support for people who are in a relationship with someone who has emotion dysregulation or related problems. Family Connections™ groups meet weekly over twelve weeks, or two intensive weekends, and are offered throughout several Canadian provinces, in English and in French.

Sincerely yours in skills and hope,

The Sashbear Team  |

The Sashbear Foundation is a volunteer-run Canadian Registered Charity

BN: 8233 90042 RR0001  DONATE NOW


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