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The Impact of Trauma on the lives of the Black Male Adolescent


Research has shown that many Black male adolescent experience various kinds of extreme traumas which impede their development and changes the way they perceive their world. In fact, they do not get the privilege of enjoying their adolescent years because they face many systemic barriers.


This one-hour, oral presentation aided by using PowerPoint slides, will define ‘normal’ adolescence vs. a trauma-induced one, some of the root causes of trauma, an understanding of its effect on behaviours, and share examples of systems wherein trauma is intensified for Black Adolescents.


A few takeaways on how we can collaborate across systems to become more trauma-informed because, without an understanding of trauma and its impact on the Black male youth, their responses will be misunderstood and mislabeled.

Speaker Bio


Norma Fay Nicholson, MA, BA, Retired RN

Norma is a four-time published author, speaker, educator, youth, and adult mental health advocate. Ms. Nicholson is a retired RN with a BA in Sociology and Psychology and an MA in Adult Education.

As a recognized public speaker, she addresses the needs of vulnerable and at-risk teens and their families. With over 30 years of public service experience, she has spent most of her time motivating and mentoring families and youth to transform their mindsets to see the world in positive ways.

Due to her vibrant voice and catalyst for community growth, she has been recognized on many occasions for her mentorship and advocacy. Most recently as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women 2018. (100ABC).


She is highly engaged in community volunteer work such as the immediate past Chair of the Region of Peel Police Services Board and past President of the Alzheimer Society of Peel. She is presently a member of the Mississauga Arts Council, Secretary of the Board of Directors, St. Luke’s Seniors Residence, an Advisory to the Free For All Foundation Board and an ardent volunteer at Associated Youth Services of Peel.



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Codi’s Adventures, Canada my ‘furever’ home (2 series)

Mobile Outreach and Support Teams (MOST)

Mobile Outreach and Support Teams (MOST) are made up of practitioners trained to support persons with mental health challenges. Police Chief Herridge of the St Thomas Police Service will describe how the MOST program serves as a vehicle for increased collaboration between law enforcement and treatment providers towards more optimum outcomes.

Chief Chris Herridge started his career as a cadet with the St. Thomas Police on February 26th, 1989.

After nearly a decade of dedicated service on general patrol, in the traffic unit and in the training branch, Chris began to climb the ranks. Chris was promoted to Sergeant (1998), then Staff Sergeant (1999). During this time, he supervised several departmental units including general patrol, criminal investigations and support services. In June of 2013, his career advanced again taking a turn to the administrative side of policing with a promotion to Inspector followed by Staff Inspector in 2017.

Chris Herridge was appointed Acting Chief of Police June 1st, 2017 and officially took over as Chief of the St. Thomas Police Service on January 1st, 2018.

Chief Herridge is committed to lifelong learning and over the years has received a Diploma in Police Sciences, Certificate in Human Resources Management and a Degree in Bachelor of Policing. He is also a graduate of the Rotman Police Executive Leadership Program, University of Toronto. Chief Herridge is also a recipient of the Police Exemplary Medal.

Megan Smythe is a Registered Social Worker with a Bachelor of Social Work from King’s University College, she is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work from the University of Waterloo. Megan has worked for CMHATV for 3 years, she first began working as a Mental Health Worker in the Community Homes for Opportunity program in St. Thomas supporting a caseload of individuals with mental health concerns living in residential care homes in 2019. Megan became part of MOST just over a year ago in March 2021.


Hollie Lauzon is a Registered Social Worker with a Bachelor of Social Work from King’s University College. Hollie has worked for CMHATV for 3 years, she first began working in the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative in St. Thomas as a Mental Health Worker working with individuals experiencing mental health challenges in supportive housing in 2019. Hollie joined MOST in September 2021 and has been enjoying her time on the team thus far.

Trauma-Informed Processes

10:10 AM - 10:50 AM

This presentation focuses on what trauma is, how it affects us, why we should consider it in the courtroom, and what courtroom practices we can implement to help alleviate the ongoing effects of trauma. The prevalence of serious traumatic experiences among our neighbours and fellow community members is alarming, and its consequences can be severe, manifesting in stressful environments like courtrooms. Presenters in this section will walk through direct clinical experiences, personal experiences, and a case study to help illustrate the many sides of trauma. This presentation will conclude with suggestions on how court practitioners can better help case participants cope with trauma and on how to incorporate trauma-informed practices into the courtroom.


Lindsey Price Jackson, Senior Program Manager of Community Justice Initiatives, Centre for Justice Innovation, New York

Kathryn Ford

Director of Clinical Supervision and Child Witness Initiatives

Centre for Justice Innovation, New York


What is Systemic Racism in Canada Like?

10:50 AM - 11:30 AM

Racial inequities can be reflected and inadvertently reproduced in Therapeutic court programs. Lessons can be learned from how systemic racism is manifested in Canadian society


Richard Sharpe


Black Equity Branch

People and Culture Division

Centre for People, Culture and Talent

Treasury Board Secretariat│Ontario Public Service

Traumatic Brain Injury

11:45 AM - 12:25 AM

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious yet hidden public health issue, often without physical signs of impairment7. Research indicates that TBI is more prevalent among justice-involved populations than in the general population1,9-11. What is TBI? What are the challenges of living with TBI? What are the linkages between TBI and criminal justice involvement? What are the challenges of court-mandated supervision conditions for people with a history of TBI? How might gender shape these challenges?


Dr. Flora I. Matheson,

Research Scientist II MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, Institute of Medical Sciences 

Dr. Arthur McLuhan

Senior Research Associate, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto

Nikoleta Curcin

Research Consultant, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto