Anxiety

Wellness Weekly: Recommended Reading for May 7-13

May 8, 2018 • Written by

In our Wellness Weekly, mental health roundup feature we curate some of the best writing on the web related to health and wellbeing. Here is some recommended reading for this week.

Don’t forget to #GETLOUD for Mental Health Week.

  • Mental Health Commission of Canada Statement on Mental Health Week. In her statement, Louise Bradley (President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada) encourages Canadians to monitor their mental state with the same interest they devote to managing their blood-pressure or any other physical concern. She also draws a link between public services like education and childcare and good mental health.

 

 

  • How Physical Fitness can Boost Your Career. Here Ivan Ho makes the case for developing good exercise related habits, encouraging readers to put health first. He ties physical activity with mental clarity, improved energy, and increased ability to meet work demands.

Do you have some favorite reading you’d like featured? Contact Breanna.

Did You Miss Craig Heisinger? Watch the recording!

March 23, 2018 • Written by

Earlier this month, RRC welcomed Winnipeg Jets exec Craig Heisinger (Zinger) to give a mental health awareness talk. If you missed it, you’re invited to watch the recording here.

Zinger spoke about his relationship with Rick Rypien who, while struggling with poor mental health, played parts of six seasons with the Manitoba Moose and Vancouver Canucks. After Rick’s death by suicide, Zinger and the True North Foundation started Project 11 to help students learn skills to build strong, positive mental health. Zinger now speaks at many schools each year, highlighting the importance of mental health and support. His talk at RRC was both informative and heartfelt.

on Twitter, check out #ZingerAtRRC to see some of the statements that resonated with those in attendance.

L-R: Kelsey Gillespie, VP Academic, RRCSA; Lauren Slegers, President, RRCSA; Craig Heisinger; Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator, RRC; Laureen Janzen, Manager, Counselling and Accessibility, RRC

RRC is committed to keeping the mental health conversation going so that every member of our community knows they are not alone and that it’s okay to reach out for support. A great way to stay informed of future events is to subscribe to this blog.

A huge thanks goes out to the RRC Students’ Association for supplying the pizza lunch and to the eTV crew for recording and livestreaming. Prize winners will be announced in a subsequent blog post.

 

 

Anxiety Forums on Campus: Psychologists to educate on coping skills

February 6, 2018 • Written by

February is Psychology Month; a time when Psychologists engage the public, educating us on how psychology works to help people live healthy and happy lives. (Canadian Psychology Association)

To celebrate Psychology Month, the Manitoba Psychological Society has organized a variety of educational seminars for the public on a wide variety of psychology-related topics. RRC is fortunate to be hosting two such events. We’ve called them “Anxiety Forums.”

Each forum will  include a talk by a prominent Psychologist as well as Q & A with the audience. Free pizza lunch is provided during both forums!

What is Anxiety?

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM), everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. It’s completely normal and can even be helpful. For example, if you’re anxious about an upcoming test, your anxiety can motivate you to study well. However, anxiety can sometimes become severe and negatively affect your life. If your anxiety has reached this point, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Here at RRC, Counselling and Accessibility is works with many students who are experiencing problems with anxiety. These problems affect academic success and overall well-being.

Anxiety Forum Details

During the two forums, the speakers will share helpful coping strategies related to managing anxiety in a College setting. Although the primary target audience is students, staff and faculty will no doubt benefit from the material presented and discussion to follow.

Registration is not required. All are welcome.

EDC: Wednesday, February 14th, 12 – 1pm in P107 with Dr. Gillian Alcolado and Dr. Elizabeth Hebert

NDC: Thursday, February 15th, 11am-12pm in the Orange Lecture Theatre with Dr. Jason Ediger

The NDC forum will also be recorded and streamed by eTV for the benefit of regional campuses.

Follow the link below to view the Anxiety Forum live streaming presentation: http://blogs.rrc.ca/etv/streaming/

Click on the ‘Live Stream’ image to play. No username or password is required. The stream will go live shortly before the presentation begins.

During the live presentation, you are encouraged to ask questions or add comments. To do so, please click on the “word bubble” icon found on the bottom right of the player. Please include your name, email address (if you require a follow-up response), and a subject heading.

Note: You can also use the “word bubble” to report any technical issues.

More About the Presenters

Dr. Jason Ediger, C. Psych.

Dr. Ediger has a special interest in blending cognitive behaviour therapy with mindfulness based approaches to change and coping. His practice focuses on anxiety, mood difficulties, chronic pain and health concerns in adults and adolescents. He has extensive experience with disability claims and return to work issues. Read his full bio here.

Dr. Gillian Alcolado, C. Psych.

Dr. Gillian Alcolado is a registered clinical psychologist working at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at St. Boniface Hospital. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Manitoba. She completed her PhD in clinical psychology from Concordia University in Montreal and her residency at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, where she completed a major rotation in their Anxiety Disorders Treatment and Research Centre. Her research interests include the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety and related conditions.

Dr. Elizabeth Hebert

Dr. Elizabeth Hebert is a psychologist in the Department of Clinical Health Psychology and an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Her research focuses on anxiety and worry and the factors that drive them, including difficulty tolerating uncertainty in daily life. Dr. Hebert is the psychologist for the Shared Care Program in Winnipeg. Her clinical work focuses on primary care settings, and includes evidence-based psychological treatments for anxiety, mood, and ADHD; psychodiagnostic and cognitive assessments; and interdisciplinary consultation.

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator, is happy to come speak briefly to classes in order to promote awareness of these events. Contact her at  204-632-2061 or blsawatzky@rrc.ca to set up a time.

The Invisible Project

January 22, 2018 • Written by

The following is a guest blog post by Austin Day, current RRC Photography student. 

I am in the process of creating “The Invisible Project.” It is a collection of photographs of people who are currently living with anxiety and/or depression. From the photographs, I will be putting together a photo album and promotional video for mental health awareness. Those who participate in the project may come back to do a video interview on their experience.

My own personal experiences inspired me to start this project. Close to 4 years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. I was very ill and spent a few days in the hospital. It was a life altering experience that flipped my whole world upside down.

Fast forwarding a year after my diagnosis I started experiencing a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. I was also experiencing burnout from my diabetes. Due to my anxiety, I was unable to cope at my job. I hibernated in my home for a long time. Though my mental state has improved immensely and my diabetes is well under control, I still worry about my health and wellbeing all the time.

My goals for this video is to bring awareness to mental health. I want to provide people with an opportunity to use their voice to share their stories with others. I am calling it The Invisible Project because quite often mental illness is not recognizable on the outside. I will use photography as a tool to show people how the world perceives them compared to how they see themselves. Everyone has their own unique beauty and I’m here to showcase that.

 

 

Send Your Stress Away: Expressive writing supported by neuroscience

October 23, 2017 • Written by

Neuroscientists have found that people who are chronic worriers tend to use more brain energy when they make a mistake (see this study, for example). Knowing this, researchers have been trying to find a way to reduce this enlarged response to errors among anxious people. One strategy that appears to work is expressive writing.

Expressive writing is the process of writing about something personal and important to you without regard for grammar, spelling, punctuation or other formal strictures. You are writing only for yourself, focusing on how you feel about the topic or event about which you choose to write.

 

A recent study in the journal Psychophysiology found that anxious college students who practiced expressive writing for 8 minutes prior to a computer task, showed less of a brain response to errors than another group of anxious college students who engaged in regular writing before the computer task. The researchers propose that the mental drain anxiety creates was in deed reduced, freeing up mental resources to focus on the computer task. They conclude “expressive writing shows promise for alleviating the interfering impact of worries on cognition.”

This adds to the body of evidence that writing down our feelings, stresses, or worries can help us be more efficient in getting the things done that we need. Check out the work of James W. Pennebaker and colleagues for evidence that expressive writing is linked to better immune functioning, less distress for migraine sufferers, fewer physician appointments, and reduced anxiety.

During THRIVE Week, come down to our Send Your Stress Away event, where we’ll provide postcards on which you can practice expressive writing and give your brain a break from your worries.

Date: Wednesday, November 8th

Time: 8:30am-3:00pm

NDC: Library Hallway

EDC: North Atrium

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator

An Impactful Mental Illness Awareness Week at RRC

October 8, 2017 • Written by

Last week, RRC observed Mental Illness Awareness Week by learning about the realities individuals face when they experience mental illness. Since we know that many staff, students, and faculty members will experience mental health problems and illness, understanding the illness and recovery process is an important part of working toward a more supportive and inclusive campus community.

Learning About Recovery Through Art and Community

Local non-profit, Artbeat Studio, visited both NDC and EDC to spread the word about their community based, peer directed program that supports artists with lived mental illness experiences to heal through art and community. You can catch the City News coverage here: City News and Artbeat at RRC

The artists who visited our campuses are: Bradley Guiboche; Nicholas Ahrens-Townshend; and Kathleen Crosby.

Learning About Anxiety Disorders

Further, we were pleased to host talks by Sarah Petty and Kendall McLean from the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM); a non-profit, peer-led self help organization  where all staff have personally experienced and overcome the disabling effects of anxiety, and are now sharing that knowledge and hope with others.

If you missed the talks, we’re thankful that eTV Studio recorded Sarah’s presentation and has posted the link to view it here.

Learning about Schizophrenia

Courtesy of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society

On Thursday, October 5th we hosted the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society; a non-profit, charitable, community-based mental health organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected with schizophrenia and psychosis. Speaker Jane Burpee helped us better understand this disorder, which effects one per cent of the population. You can find the video recording of her talk here.

Learn More

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health is the driving force behind Mental Illness Awareness Week annually. One of MIAW’s major initiatives is the Faces of Mental Illness campaign, a national outreach campaign featuring the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness. Five Canadians have shared their stories so that you and I can better understand illnesses like Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You can read bios and watch video clips put together by this national campaign.

If, as you learn more about these disorders, you feel you might be experiencing one yourself, please reach out for help. Your family doctor is often a good place to start. RRC staff can also access our Employee and Family Assistance Plan. RRC students can complete an intake form in order to access confidential Counselling services. People who experience mental illness can get help, get better, and live a good life.

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator

Mental Illness Awareness Week

September 20, 2017 • Written by

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. Many people who work and learn at RRC have experienced or will experience mental illness in their lifetime.Show your support for an inclusive campus community by attending one or more of or MIAW events.

Art Show by Artbeat Studio

Artbeat Studio is a mental health consumer initiated, peer-directed, recovery oriented program providing studio space, mentorship and more to artists living with mental illness. Come view artwork and chat with an artist about the power of art and community to promote healing.

NDC: Tuesday, Oct 3rd noon-2:00 pm, Library Hallway

EDC: Thursday, Oct 5th noon- 2:00 pm, Atrium

Coping with Anxiety as a Student: A Lived Experience

The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba is a peer-led organization whose staff have personally experienced and overcome the disabling effects of anxiety. Attend this talk where the presenter will share knowledge about Anxiety Disorders as well as strategies to cope in an academic and workplace setting.

NDC: Wednesday, Oct 4th, noon-1:00 pm, Orange lecture theatre, livestreaming available

EDC: Wednesday, Oct 4th, noon-1:00 pm, P107

All About Schizophrenia

One percent of the population live with Schizophrenia so chances are you’ll work with, learn with, or teach someone who has this diagnosis. Attend this talk, by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, to increase your knowledge about Schizophrenia and Psychosis, while having your questions answered by the experts.

NDC: Thursday, October 5th, 11:00-noon, White lecture theatre, livestreaming available

Faces of Mental Illness Campaign

The Faces of Mental Illness is a national outreach campaign featuring the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness. Posters featuring the Faces will be all over campus in an effort to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with mental illness.

If you’d like a poster to put up in your area, please contact blsawatzky@rrc.ca.

Staff Mental Health Support, Through Lifeworks

May 4, 2017 • Written by

 


 

Every year, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem, whether it’s a struggle with depression, anxiety, addiction, severe stress, or another issue. And millions more will be affected by a mental health issue in someone they love.

Contact LifeWorks, toll-free, any time: Are you concerned about a child who may be suffering from anxiety, a family member who may be abusing opioids, or about an issue in your own life? Our caring, professional consultants are available 24/7 with expert advice and confidential support.

Log in any time to the program website: This month, see the Mental Health Support feature on our home page. You’ll find links to articles, infographics, and a new podcast, “Managing Your Moods,” featuring Christine Padesky, clinical psychologist, bestselling author, and cognitive behavioural therapy expert. She describes simple research-tested skills you can learn to improve your mood and boost happiness.

LifeWorks is here to support you and your loved ones through whatever challenges you may be facing.

Call LifeWorks toll-free, any time: 1-877-207-8833
TTY: 1-877-371-9978
Visit us online at www.lifeworks.com or login.lifeworks.com.
(username: rrcefap; password: efap).

Guest Blog: Student Mental Health Story

May 3, 2017 • Written by

The following is a guest blog from Laura McNaughton, Child and Youth Care student at the Notre Dame Campus.

 

Laura McNaughton, RRC Student

For a long time, I have felt like I’ve been living two lives. The life everyone else sees, and the life I see. These two lives are drastically different.

When I was in high school, I was known as the happiest kid in school. “She is always smiling”, “She’s so upbeat and happy”. I was sarcastic and witty and joyful, but as soon as I got home, I would sleep until the next day of school. Then I would put on my happy face again and be the other side of me. No one knew the side of me when I was alone. Even now, after I have told my story to others, they are shocked- they still always say to me “But you were so happy in high school”.

Laura’s original artwork.

Depression is like a paradox. You want the illness acknowledged, but at the same time, you also want to deny it. I guess I was in my denying stage at that time. Then I started to realize I was sinking way too far down into a hole. I was in a full blown depression, I was self harming, and to me that was my normal. I had people in my life who were there for me and helped me get through it, but it was still always there- like a friend that just won’t leave you alone. But they’re not really a friend, they’re this toxic being that helps to deteriorate you. I felt all alone, even though there were people all around me. And it took years for me to be able to look at myself and see someone who was worth being around, worth living, just worth it.

Mental health is a process….

Laura (left) helping bring therapy dogs to RRC as part of her student-led practicum in Child and Youth Care.

I am now 22 years old, and actually about to graduate the Child and Youth Care Program here at Red River College. For my last practicum in my course, I actually did this new, unique student led practicum. I was a mental health advocate, connecting with people and organizations all over the city, and helping to facilitate events. Some things I accomplished were; I helped bring therapy dogs to the college for students in exams, I joined an online peer support network, I joined the advisory committee here at the college, I went to mental health talks, created my own business cards and am currently working on my own mental health event. Basically, I did so much in this last 7 weeks that I am shocked. This is not where I thought my life would be.

Laura displaying her prescribed psychiatric medication.

I used to be anxious as all hell, and too depressed to get out of bed to come to school. I used to think I had no future, and I was not going to amount to anything. This last practicum has really helped me to flourish and become who I was meant to be. Mental health is something I am so passionate about, and because of that passion, I have seen my dream become a reality.

Don’t get me wrong- I still have my bad days, I’m still depressed and have those days where I can’t function, I am still anxious, I am on medication to help, but I have something in my life to look forward to. I have found something that gets me out of bed everyday- my passion for helping others.

Mental health is so important to understand, and I want all of us to be on the positive spectrum, but it is an everyday process. It is not something that is going to come easy for some, and that is ok. It is ok not to be ok! I want to be that support for people who feel so in the dark, they cannot see the light. I want to be that light for them.

I have and am currently struggling with a mental illness, but I am here to say, that it will not stop you from accomplishing what you want out of life. It might give you some hiccups here and there, but it is not your whole life. It is not you, it is a part of you- and you are strong and beautiful and amazing and you can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t listen to the lies your illness tells you, You can do it. I believe in you.

I used to be scared to talk about my issues openly, but if it can help someone else not feel alone then I am going to do it everyday for the rest of my life.

“I know its hard to understand, if its never happened to you, but just realize its important to talk about for someone to be able to get through

 

so lets start talking about mental illness – realize it is not a choice. these people are sick, and need more of a voice

 

We need to end the stigma around mental health, Stand up, make a change, and realize happiness is our greatest wealth”

 

-excerpt from poem by Laura McNaughton

If you would like to write a guest blog about your mental health journey, please contact Breanna, Mental Health Coordinator, at blsawatzky@rrc.ca.

Therapy Dogs on Campus! April 24th and 25th

April 20, 2017 • Written by

The end of term can be a very stressful period, with students experiencing added pressure to complete projects and perform well on exams. In order to help students cope with this stress, we’re welcoming the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program to campus. Students will be encouraged to sit with, feel, touch and pet a trained dog, enjoying the relaxing effect this can have on their mind, body, and emotions.

According to St. John Ambulance, the nation-wide program boasts 3,354 volunteer teams who assisted more than 120,000 clients throughout 2015. Therapy dog teams visit hospitals, retirement residences, care facilities, schools and universities.

Therapy dogs have been on campus in the past, and many students have genuinely enjoyed the visits.

Please join us at the following times/locations:

Monday, April 24 in the Cave Lounge at NDC, 11:30am-1:00pm

Tuesday, April 25 in the Atrium of Roblin Centre, 11:30am-1:00pm

For more information, please contact Breanna Sawatzky at 204-632-2061 or blsawatzky@rrc.ca

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