Hello, I’m Breanna Sawatzky, your new Mental Health Coordinator! I’m so thrilled to be tasked with promoting positive mental health for students, staff, and faculty here at RRC. This is just my third week in the position, yet so many people have welcomed me, helping me feel at ease. I’d like to tell you a bit about myself and what I bring to the Mental Health Coordinator role.
I’ve always been interested in factors that contribute to human suffering and human flourishing. These interests led me to major in Psychology at the University of Winnipeg. During my studies I volunteered with Klinic Community Health Centre’s Crisis and Sexual Assault Crisis programs, providing person centered counselling, advocacy, and support based on an empowerment model.
I earned my honours B.A. in Psychology and worked as a Research Assistant in Psychiatry at Health Sciences Centre and the University of Manitoba. There I was privileged to interact with many people who were experiencing severe and persistent Mental Illness, some in recovery and some still grappling with unbearable symptoms.
After my research work, I served as a Mental Health Skills Teaching Specialist with the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg’s Learning and Leisure Centre. There I facilitated skill development groups, conducted one-on-one coaching sessions, and led therapeutic recreation activities with adults who had experienced mental illness and needed a supportive community to help them in their recovery. I was later the Director of that program and then Manager of Community Outreach at the Y.
I strongly believe in collaboration and have worked with several groups who are committed to mental health promotion and recovery. Some are the MANSO Health Committee; WRHA Mental Health Advisory Council; and Provincial Recovery Champions Committee.
I’m passionate about knowledge translation and participatory decision making, where service users drive service design. I know that a lot of work has gone into the Healthy Minds, Healthy College Charter and strategy up to this point. I’m so excited to start implementing programming to ensure RRC is a health promoting College.
On a personal note, I live in St. James with my husband and two children (6 and 3 years old). We love to spend time at Assiniboine Park throughout all four seasons. An awesome book club and regular yoga practice help me stay well and balanced. My family also volunteers with Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council‘s host matching program. We have been matched with a large Syrian family (they have 8 children!) who arrived in Winnipeg as refugees.
I’m excited to use Mind it! to highlight the many ways we each care for our mental health, cope with challenges, and form supportive communities. I welcome guest blog posts, so please contact me with your insights, experiences, and suggestions. Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog!
You can find me in AB05 at NDC and wherever my duties take me.
I thank you for reading this and I hope to see you around campus!