Meet Ontonio Dawson

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"Taking care of your mental health is not a sign of weakness, it is an investment."

Ontonio was born on 20th July in the parish of Trelawny, Jamaica. From a very early age he demonstrated a great passion for the work of God and at the tender age of seven he became a Christian. Despite having strong faith in God Ontonio had to endure some painful life experience in his early years. He was constantly bullied for being fat both at school and in his community. Ontonio struggled academically and was not able to read at the age of 12. This subsequently resulted in his worst childhood memory failing his grade 6 examination to move on to secondary school. As a result of this Ontonio lived in constant shame and embarrassment because all his classmates and friends from his community moved on to secondary school leaving him behind. As a result of his failure he struggled with his self-esteem and self-worth.

This taste of failure resulted in Ontonio developing a renewed drive and desire to make something of his life. He learnt to read in one year and later became a voice of hope for many young people who experience failure and setbacks. Ontonio desire to help others to overcome life challenges resulted in him becoming a Police Officer in the Jamaica Constabulary Force. This job gave him the opportunity to work as a trained Para-Professional Counsellor, supporting people with signs of mental distress. Ontonio also went into many schools in Jamaica and gave presentations to young people who were failing or exposed to crime and violence and empowered them to do better and be better.

Ontonio also continued to operate in his love for God whilst serving as a Police Officer and would frequently preach and teach the gospel to Jesus Christ too many people across Western Jamaica. In 2012, Ontonio realised just how lacking psychological support was in the Jamaica Constabulary Force and as result pursued his undergraduate degree in Psychology to gain knowledge of how to empower people to live a transformed life. In 2015, Ontonio got married to his friend of five years and migrated to the UK. Upon arriving in the UK, he was unsure about his destiny, but God had plans for his life. Ontonio after a few weeks in the country was offered Job and Therapeutic Practitioners supporting men coming out of the prison system and were diagnosed with personality disorder, working in this capacity further increased Ontonio’s passion for supporting people who were in need of Emotional support.

In 2018, Ontonio was certified by University College London a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and since then Ontonio has been using his knowledge to help people professionally and give advice to Christians about accessing psychological support. Through this Ontonio’s eyes became opened to the overwhelming emotional pain that many Christians and non-Christians are experiences and has invested quality time to learn ways of incorporating theology and psychological to give Christians practical tools to manage shame, guilt, low self-esteem, mild to moderate levels of depression and anxiety.

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