Health Minds Healthy College

Campus Well-Being

Substance Use

Aiming at Wellness Together: A Lunch and Talk with Former NHL Forward Jordin Tootoo

December 16, 2019

Save the date! Former NHL forward Jordin Tootoo is the keynote speaker at our annual mental health awareness event.

In Jordin’s talk, Aiming at Wellness Together, he shares his personal experiences in order to open up important conversations around addiction recovery, mental health, and suicide prevention, all while sharing a hopeful message of resilience and understanding.

Join us for a free pizza lunch and meet Jordin.

Date: Wednesday, February 5th

Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm

11:30am – lunch

noon – program begins

1:15 pm – meet and greet with Jordin

Location: South Gym, Notre Dame Campus*

*The program will be recorded and live streamed thanks to the eTV studio. You can catch the live stream at

At Exchange District Campus catch the live stream and enjoy some free pizza in the Indigenous Centre (P407), starting at 11:30am.

Jordin Tootoo played for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 1999 to 2003 before being chosen by the Nashville Predators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play with the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks.

Of Inuit and Ukrainian descent, Tootoo is not just the first Inuk player, but also the first one raised in Nunavut to play in the NHL. As an Indigenous athletic leader, Tootoo has long understood his responsibility as a role model, speaking openly about the need for mental health resources, and fighting the taboos around discussing mental illness. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Nunavut promoting healthy living and encouraging conversations about difficult topics like addiction and suicide.

“It’s part of Canada that a lot of people struggle with mental health and addiction, suicide, these issues are a national epidemic” says Tootoo. Bestselling author of the memoir All The Way: My Life on Ice, Tootoo brings an uplifting message to his audiences, creating a culture of inspired inclusivity with authentic hockey and community stories.

RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative and the Students’ Association are pleased to welcome Jordin.

For questions or accessibility needs, please contact Breanna Sawatzky.

THRIVE Week Keynote Talk and Pizza Lunch with Robb Nash

October 30, 2018

The THRIVE Week planning group is pleased to announce that musician Robb Nash  will be delivering the keynote talk and musical performance. All staff and students are invited and free pizza lunch is provided. 

The award-winning Robb Nash Project is a registered Canadian charity that engages young people through the power of music and storytelling to inspire hope and encourage positive life choices. He sensitively tackles serious issues like addiction, self-harm, and suicide while exuding positive energy.

According to Robb, “We help people discover their gifts, rather than focus on their failings. We help them to learn not just to survive, but to lead a life of significance.”

Check out a short video of Robb’s story here:

Date: Wednesday, November 7th

Time: Noon-1pm

Location: The Cave Lounge, Notre Dame Campus

Free pizza lunch will be provided to all who attend, while supplies last.

During THRIVE Week we take time to reflect on the role of self-care and balance on developing positive mental health that supports academic and career success. This year, THRIVE will be held November 5-9.

Events and activities provide an opportunity for rest, social connection, physical activity, fun, personal growth, and learning.

The week long series of events is a partnership between the RRC Students’ Association and the Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative.

Check out the NDC Thrive Guide and EDC Thrive Guide to see the full slate of activities.

Support for Alcoholism Recovery Coming to Campus

August 22, 2017

This Autumn, there will be an additional support on campus to help individuals attain recovery and wellness: an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group.

According to AA, Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

For more information about AA, and answers to frequently asked questions, visit

At this point, we are asking any individuals who would like to either help start the group, or attend the group contact Steve (with AA) or Breanna (RRC’s Mental Health Coordinator) so that we can decide on a day and time to hold the meeting.





Taking control of your alcohol and drug use

April 13, 2015

Coming out

Using drugs or alcohol is a personal choice. Some students don’t use either, while others choose to use one or both recreationally, or more often.

If you are choosing to use drugs or alcohol, it’s important to keep in mind how they can affect you. It’s also important to know that if you think your drinking or drug use is problematic, that there are many resources available to you.

Only you can truly know whether or not your consumption of alcohol and drugs is a problem. If you’re not sure if you have a problem but want to try taking more control of your alcohol or drug use, here are some strategies that may be helpful.

  • Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of your alcohol or drug use. Which list is longer? Do you want the disadvantages list to shrink?
  • Keep a journal of your alcohol or drug consumption. At the end of two weeks, look back at what you wrote down. Did you consume more or less than you expected? How does this information make you feel?
  • Get some feedback from someone you really trust. Do they think there is cause for concern?
  • Try limiting your exposure to social events that involve alcohol and drugs. How do you feel about not being there? Do you miss hanging out with friends, the alcohol or drugs, or both?
  • Think about what emotions trigger your alcohol consumption and drug use. Do you tend to drink or use drugs when you feel certain emotions? Are there any alternatives to dealing with these feelings?
  • You may want to try a month of abstinence. Is it easy or difficult for you to stop your alcohol or drug use?

Counselling and Accessibility Services is there to help if you are dealing with substance abuse or addiction. If you would like to make an appointment, please complete the online intake form and someone will contact you to set up an appointment.

Winning the battle against substance abuse

November 17, 2014

IMG_1389Red River College grad, Kyle Goertzen dealt with substance abuse most of his life. Sober for more than three years now, he works at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Tamarack Recovery Centre and Two Ten Recovery. He is also on the Canadian Mental Health Association Winnipeg’s Speakers Bureau and completing his bachelor of social work through the University of Manitoba.

Red River College Applied Counselling graduate, Kyle Goertzen works three jobs, volunteers and mentors young people trying to get sober. He’s positive, driven, smart and funny. But it was a long, difficult road getting here — to a place where he’s happy and comfortable being himself.


At 13-years-old, Kyle had his first sip of alcohol. By 15, Kyle was regularly drinking and smoking pot and by 18, he was addicted to cocaine. As his drinking and drug use continued into his late teens and twenties, his family and friends urged him to get help. But like many people struggling with addiction, Kyle was very good at hiding just how deep his problem was, even from himself.

“It’s kind of like B.O. — you’re the last one to know or think you have a problem,” says Kyle. “I convinced myself that everything was fine because I could hold it together for a week, but then I’d try having one drink on the weekend and everything would spiral out of control. It would turn into a five-day-long binge.”

Eventually, Kyle recognized he had a problem with drugs and alcohol, but he still wasn’t ready to do anything about it. In the grips of his addiction, Kyle lied, stole and manipulated his way through life. Everything from school to his relationships took a backseat to getting alcohol and drugs. At his worst, he would think about all the things his peers were doing — dating, going to school, working — and felt completely alone and depressed.

“I became a recluse because inside, I was ashamed of what I was doing. I wouldn’t go out and drink with friends, instead, I’d grab as much booze and drugs as I could and sit in the basement by myself. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but at that point I didn’t care.”

Hitting rock-bottom

Things came to a head when Kyle was arrested for drinking and driving a stolen vehicle. His parents were desperate for him to get help, but they were also exhausted with his behaviour and out of ideas about what to do. So, they refused to bail him out. Kyle spent the next four months in jail, which turned out to be the wake-up call he needed to start turning his life around.

“Laying on the floor of my cell, I had an epiphany. I was 25, in jail and going through withdrawal. I just remember thinking, “I’m done”. I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. I was the problem and I couldn’t blame anyone else. I promised myself that once I got out of there, I was going to do something about my behaviour.”


That something turned out to be a fourth stint in rehab, but this time, with a mindset that getting sober was the only option. For 60 days Kyle did everything from group therapy to counselling and this time — he did it for himself. From learning about addiction and mental health issues to participating in a 12-step program, it was a completely different experience – especially after meeting the person who would become his mentor.

“I found someone I could relate to and connect with who had been through something similar. The instant I felt the connection, I knew I was in the right place. I thought, if this person can stay sober for 10 years, then I can do it too. That’s what really did it for me.”

With the support of his recovery team including his parents, Kyle has made a lot of changes to his life. He went on antidepressants for a year to stabilize his moods, chooses to only surround himself with people supportive of him staying sober and continues to work at the 12-step program daily. Kyle’s been sober for more than three years now and is enjoying life and using his story to help others.

“The happiness that I feel now…I can’t even describe it. I feel better than I ever have. I’m sober and I’ve found my purpose — helping other people get sober. Seeing the light come back in their eyes is simply amazing.”

Think you might be struggling with substance abuse?

Complete the online intake form to book an appointment with a counsellor in Counselling and Accessibility Services or visit the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba website for more information.

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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