Health Minds Healthy College

Campus Well-Being

Mind it!

Better Mental Health Through Digital Therapy

October 11, 2021

For so many of us, mental health is an important topic. Every day, conversations related to mindfulness or self-care come up.

There are no quick fixes to our mental health, and some of us feel overwhelmed, like we’ve lost control of things; others simply can’t shake feeling down. These are issues that many students deal with every day. But the good news is that there’s help available with MindBeacon digital therapy – available to Red River College students at no cost with referral.

MindBeacon can empower you

Designed to improve your mental health and build your resilience to life’s challenges, MindBeacon provides Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT), an evidence-based form of psychological therapy.  Tis form of therapy is often considered the gold standard when it comes to helping people with mild to moderate depression, insomnia, or anxiety.

How CBT works

The premise behind CBT is that, with regular practice and guidance, we can manage the distressing thoughts and behaviours that come along with stressful, challenging situations – in a way that positively impacts our lives. It can be difficult at first, but with commitment to therapy, you can see your resilience grow.

Therapy on your terms

You use MindBeacon wherever and whenever you choose – all on your phone, tablet, or computer – with no appointments to keep. And your therapy is guided by a registered mental health professional, to help you develop crucial lifelong coping skills.

To get started, connect with any of the following:

Students attending a regional campus may contact an Academic Success Coach at their campus.

Staff who are interested in MindBeacon should inquire about extended health plan coverage. Many of our employee benefit packages do cover these services, since they’re provided by registered social workers or psychologists.

This service enhancement aligns with the Healthy Minds Healthy College strategic priority to improve access to mental health services, using innovation. If you have questions please contact Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator.

Wellness Through Music, with the Manitoba Conservatory for Music and Arts

September 21, 2021

Music is an excellent wellness tool. Whether you put on some music to shift your mood, express yourself by making music, or learn a new musical skill – the emotional and spiritual power of music can’t be denied. While we work and study, it’s still important to take meaningful breaks, giving our bodies and minds a chance to recharge.

Music Workshop Series

For these reasons we’re happy to invite staff and students to a series of Thrive events centred around music and delivered by the Manitoba Conservatory for Music and Arts.

Registration for each workshop opens two weeks in advance. After registering, you will receive a Zoom link to join the event. All workshops run 6-7pm on a Wednesday. There is no cost to attend and you do not require your own instrument.

September 22: Feel the Beat

Tap your feet, clap your hands and break out the pots and pans as you learn how to tell an exciting story through percussion soundscapes. Facilitated by Caroline Bucher.

October 20: Songwriting Collaboration

Participate in the creation of brand new music! Tune in to observe, provide your creative input toward lyrics and melodies, help improvise or vote on song ideas. We will use Garage Band to create a new music composition on the spot. Facilitated by Lindsey White.

November 17: Improvisation

Music improvisation uses music patterns and concepts to create free form and stylistic new arrangements. Learn how to take your music knowledge and add your personal expressions to create a new arrangement. Facilitated by Carter Graham. Register here.

December 8: Song Sharing

What are some of your most loved songs and why? Bring a favourite song to this “round table” session and we will listen, discuss the artist, structure and meaning. You are welcome and encouraged to play your song using an instrument, or find a recorded version (whatever your preference). Let’s talk about what makes this music great! Facilitated by Lindsey White.


World Suicide Prevention Day: Creating Hope Through Action

September 7, 2021

World Suicide Prevention Day is a time to connect and reflect. Every year on September 10th, people in over 50 countries recognize this day.

World Suicide Prevention Day is a chance for everyone to join in promoting understanding about suicide: those impacted by a suicide attempt or loss, family and friends, workplaces, professionals, post-secondary institutions, students and community members.

Every year, 160 million people worldwide contemplate suicide and, tragically, 800,000 of them die by suicide. This means that more than 159 million people survive suicide-related crises every year. There is no reason that anyone has to die by suicide and, if we all do our part, we can prevent those deaths that do happen and the devastating impact that they have.

Virtual Speaker Series

This year, the Winnipeg Suicide Prevention Network (of which RRC is a member), is hosting a virtual speaker series on the theme of Creating Hope Through Action. Talks will take place at noon on Thursdays.

Noon on Thursday, September 9 – Kevin Lamoureux

In this session our special guest Kevin Lamoureux will focus on suicide prevention through the lens of social justice. Many young people find themselves struggling to overcome oppression and injustices that have sometimes impacted families and communities across generations. Every young person that finds themselves without hope is a failing of justice and equity, not a failing of the child. Grounded within the framework provided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, this session will honour the care adults who work on behalf of young people to create lasting and meaningful change.

Zoom Link:

Noon on Thursday, September 16 – Buddy Up

Our special guest Akash Asif will share information about the Buddy Up campaign. An initiative of the Centre for Suicide Prevention, Buddy Up is a men’s suicide prevention communication campaign: a call to action for men, by men. With the help of Champions across Canada, Buddy Up works to promote authentic conversations among men and their buddies.


Noon on Thursday, September 23 – is Canada’s only charity training and empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health. Jack Talks are mental health presentations delivered by young people to young people. Trained and certified youth speakers use the power of personal stories and mental health education to inspire, engage, educate, and equip young people to look out for themselves and their peers.

Zoom Link:

Noon on Thursday, September 30 – WE MATTER

Indigenous youth deserve to see themselves succeeding and thriving, and know that no matter what they may go through there is always a way forward. We Matter presenter Autumn LaRose Smith and a special guest Youth Ambassador will discuss why We Matter was created, Indigenous life promotion focusing on hope, culture and strength, and will share with you the resources and activities We Matter offers to support indigenous youth.

Zoom Link.

What Individuals Can Do To Help

Although it can be scary to talk about suicide, each of us can take action to support someone who is struggling.

  1. Check in with them regularly to see how they are doing;
  2. Listen supportively to what they have to say;
  3. Remember that you don’t have to have all the answers;
  4. Know and introduce them to resources in their area, if they need additional support;
  5. Be prepared to assist them in finding information, but don’t take over as that may reinforce their sense of helplessness.

Local Resources

RRC students who are having thoughts of suicide are encouraged to connect with Student Counselling Services. Professional counsellors provide free and confidential support around the topic of suicide and other problems or crises. Appointments can take place over the phone, via videoconferencing or in person (as available).

Staff and faculty members are encouraged to connect with RRC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program, Homewood Health for free and confidential support.

All community members can also call the Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line or visit the Crisis Response Centre at 817 Bannatyne in Winnipeg. For resources outside of Winnipeg, please find your health region here.

Remember, through action we can create hope.


Connect With Others — And Meet all the Precious Pets

September 7, 2021

Long days of studying or working can be isolating and monotonous. Thankfully, many of us have pets we love who force us to smile, relax and take a little break. On September 13, you’re invited to pick up your pet, hop on WebEx and meet all the RRC pets!

During this lightly facilitated session, participants will be invited to introduce their own pet and tell us what you love about them.

Don’t have a pet, but still love to meet others’ precious pals? No problem. Join anyway and take part in the virtual meet-and-greet.

The Details

Date: Monday, September 13

Time: 11-11:30am

Platform: WebEx

Register here.

THRIVE events encourage balance and self-care that in turn support good mental health. All THRIVE events are offered in partnership with the RRCSA at no charge to participants and are open to staff, students, and faculty.

Watch your student or staff news and this blog for invitations to more THIRVE activities, including music workshops, cooking lessons, wellness workshops, yoga classes and more.

Ride Don’t Hide: Join the RRC Team and Bring Mental Health Into the Open

June 7, 2021

This June our friends at Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) are hosting a “choose-your-own-adventure” version of their classic Ride Don’t Hide event.

RRC staff, students and faculty members are invited to join the RRC team for a chance to move more, give back and feel better. There is no cost to register and whether and how much you fundraise is completely up to you. We may not be gathering to ride as a group, but we will be together in spirit.

About the Ride

You decide how—and how much—to get involved. Ride Outside, Ride Inside or Ride in Spirit.

You can Ride Outside for 100 km throughout June or simply go out for a “leisurely” Sunday ride.

You can Ride Inside with a rigorous 30-day spin challenge or casually pedal your stationary bike while bingeing on Netflix.

Or you can Ride in Spirit, because it doesn’t have to be a literal ride. Crossfit in your basement, do yoga in your living room, take a brisk morning walk before you start work or take 10 minutes in your day for mindfulness. However you take care of yourself this spring – that’s your Ride.

And sharing it with others – that’s your ‘Don’t Hide.’

What’s more, CMHA will be streaming live virtual “Spirit Week” programming from June 21-27.

RRC’s 2019 Ride Don’t Hide Team


  1. Register and choose your own adventure – pick the route, the activity and the goal that excites you. Connect with others by joining the RRC team.
  2. Set up your personal Ride Don’t Hide page to track your activity and achievements.
  3. Decide if you want to fundraise and if so, use your fundraising dashboard to send emails, post to social media, and get others on board.
  4. Download the Ride Don’t Hide mobile app to automatically track your activity.
  5. Ride! Or run, walk, jump rope, do yoga, dance, climb stairs, lift weights, play tag with your kids…Move more, give back, feel better.
  6. Snap a photo of your Ride and send it to Breanna to be featured in a Wellness Blog post.

It’s Mental Health Week!

May 2, 2021

The 70th annual Mental Health Week, championed by Canadian Mental Health Association, takes place May 3-9. This year’s theme is “name it don’t numb it,” highlighting how naming, expressing and dealing with our emotions (event he difficult ones) is important for our mental health.

Here are a few suggested ways to participate in Mental Health Week:

  1. Attend Workplace Strategies for Mental Health’s live webinar on strategies that can help you flourish. The session takes place Tuesday May 4 at noon.  Learn more here.
  2. Explore Library Services’ Healthy Minds Healthy College Guide, featuring books, videos, websites and other resources on the topic of mental health.
  3. Connect on social media, using the hashtags #GetReal and #MentalHealthWeek.
  4. Attend a live, guided, drop-in mindfulness session with MindWell U. There are several date and time options each week that can be accessed through your MindwWell U hub. If you don’t already have a MindWell U account, you can create one here.

All suggested activities are free of charge. Any questions can be directed to Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator.

When it comes to emotions, feeling sad, angry and anxious at times is part of being human. When we have good mental health, it doesn’t mean that we’re happy all the time. Instead, we’re able to experience a full range of human emotions—even the uncomfortable ones like sadness, fear and anger.

When we push feelings down or ignore them, they don’t go away. Rather, one of the best methods to quiet an emotion is to give it a voice—name it.

Can you think of ways that you name and mange difficult emotions? Many people find it helpful to talk, write, or express themselves through art or music. Once you can label and sit with an emotion, it becomes easier to shape how you experience that emotion and make wise choices about your behaviour.

Everyone deserves to feel well and understanding our emotions is a part of feeling well.



Join Cooking for Wellness: A Thrive Workshop

April 27, 2021

Did you know that eating balanced meals regularly can reduce anxiety symptoms, increase energy levels, and even improve concentration and memory? Eating habits are critical to overall wellness, yet when we get busy or stressed we often don’t make the best food choices.

So, show yourself some love by cooking a delicious and balanced meal. Learn how to make Salad Rolls with Hoisin Sauce while cooking alongside your instructor, Abby Legaspi! This workshop is part of our Thrive event series, hosted by the RRCSA and Healthy Minds Healthy College.

Date: Wednesday, May 12

Time: 6-8pm

Menu: Salad Rolls with Hoisin Sauce

Register here. After registering you will receive a Zoom link to join. Seating is limited to 20 participants.

Ingredient Kits

If you require a kit with ingredients, be sure to register by May 7 so you can pick up the kit on Monday, May 10. For this event, kits can only be picked up at the Notre Dame Campus. You may also simply purchase the ingredients at your local grocery store.

All students and staff are welcome. For accessibility needs, please contact Breanna Sawatzky.

Cooking for Wellness workshop instructor Abby Legaspi

About the Instructor

Abby Legaspi is a Nutrition graduate from U of M with 10 years’ experience running cooking programs for different non-profit and grass roots organizations. She now works at NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre and is passionate about almost everything related to food, from gardening to cooking. Abby sees food as a means to connect people while recognizing that food insecurity can be experienced by many. As an advocate for good food, it is Abby’s hope that one day, everyone will be food secure.

Let’s Talk About Men’s Mental Health

April 6, 2021


Men’s mental health often flies under the radar. This means we need to be aware of what mental health looks like, validate that men (and everyone!) experience concerns with their mental health, and consider how to allow ourselves to experience it without shame or embarrassment.

Join Sheldon Hill (RP.), MindBeacon Psychotherapist, who will discuss some of the things that prevent men from seeking help, signs that you may be experiencing a mental health concern, and how to seek help once you’ve identified you need it.

New Date!: Thursday, April 29 (rescheduled from Monday, April 12)

Time: noon-1pm

Platform: WebEx – register here

More On The Presenter

Sheldon Hill (RP.) is a humanistic-existential, person-centred therapist who is passionate about helping clients alleviate their concerns so they can lead a meaningful, values-driven lives. Sheldon completed a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Western University. At MindBeacon, Sheldon guides clients, including RRC students, as they complete programs based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

More on MindBeacon

Red River College is committed to providing access to a variety of mental health supports that address a wide range of needs.  If you are an RRC student and would like a referral to access MindBeacon’s Therapist Guided Program free of charge, please contact Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator. RRC staff may be able to use their extended health benefits toward MindBeacon services.

More On Men’s Mental Health

HeadsUpGuys is a Movember Foundation funded group based out of the University of British Columbia that is dedicated to supporting men living with depression, as well as their friends and families. They provide practical advice, information about professional services and inspirational stories of recovery.

Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto highlights some of the key topics to consider when exploring men’s mental health.

State of Mind: A Community Exchange – You’re Invited!

March 30, 2021

After months of analyzing, consulting and prioritizing we’re please to share that Red River College’s Senior Leadership has approved and endorsed our new five year strategy. Healthy Minds Healthy College Strategy: A Roadmap for Action 2021-2025 is the blueprint to carry the strategy forward for the years to come. Both our Steering Committee and Advisory Group shaped the strategy’s direction, taking a community-wide and systemic approach to promoting well-being.

In the Roadmap, we’ve built in strategies to promote mental health and well-being amongst all community members. In addition, we’ve identified additional strategies to support those with concerns about coping. Finally, we’ve outlined priorities to support individuals experiencing mental illness or crisis.

To learn more about the Roadmap and our immediate priorities, please join Breanna Sawatzky for: State of Mind: A Community Exchange on April 9, 2021 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm.

This interactive forum will include a short presentation, highlighting key aspects of the Roadmap, followed by discussion.

Welcome Spring With Creativity: Join Our April Paint Night

March 23, 2021

How are you doing? Many of us are welcoming the milder temperatures and longer daylight hours of spring. At the same time, March and April are particularly stressful times in the academic calendar. As you manage the demands of work and school, you’re invited to find some balance by engaging in art-based creativity.

Kisa MacIsaac, RRC grad and owner of Power of Painting, will (virtually) lead you through an evening of self-care as you create your very own painting.

THRIVE events encourage balance and self-care that in turn supports good mental health. All THRIVE events are offered at no charge to participants and are open to staff, students, and faculty.

The Details

Date: Thursday, April 8

Time: 7-9pm

Platform: WebEx

Register here.

Need Supplies?

For this virtual paint night, you’re welcome to use your own supplies or sign up to borrow a supply pack. Supply packs will include the canvas, paint, and brushes and can be requested when you register. Brushes and unused paint must be returned to your campus so they can be reused.

We have a limited number of supply packs, so be sure to register early.

There’s ample evidence that taking time to express yourself through creativity in a social group improves mental health and overall well-being. Don’t miss this chance to make yourself a priority.

A portrait of Kisa MacIsaacMore on the Instructor

Kisa MacIsaac (she/her) is Métis, a mother, artist, educator, and a RRC graduate (ECE diploma 2005). She works in a non profit early learning and child care program in Winnipeg’s inner city, and leads wellness painting events as well as creating custom artworks. Making art is medicine – it has the power reduce stress and anxiety, it is relaxing. Everyone can make art, it’s all about letting go of fear and just creating and going with the flow!
Check out: Power of Painting – Workshops and Art by Kisa
IG: @powerofpainting204

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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