Home » Community Comes Together to Help Provide Education About Mental Health and Wellbeing

Community Comes Together to Help Provide Education About Mental Health and Wellbeing

by Shanine Sealey

Judy Jaunzems-Fernuk, B.Ed., M.Ed., PhD (Candidate) recently presented at Valley Manor Elementary School regarding the importance of mental health. One event was held for parents of Martensville students, and others were held in the school for students in Grades 6-8.

Following the presentation to parents, several of those that attended contacted Jaunzems-Fernuk to review the importance of this topic to them personally. One of the parents was local resident Heather Isaac, who asked Jaunzems-Fernuk if there was more that could be done to bring this conversation to the community. “We began discussing the potential for a full day workshop to meet the needs and interest of those looking for more education and support,” Jaunzems-Fernuk said. From there Isaac did an online poll to assess interest and was able to find a local business to help house the event.

The cost to attend the event is $75 per person or $120 per two persons. “If a financial barrier is the only reason you would not attend this one day workshop, you may contact me confidentially for a reduced or free rate to register,” Jaunzems-Fernuk said.

The event will take place on Saturday, November 2nd from 9:30am-4:00pm at Bravo Dance Co (800 Centennial Drive North in Martensville). Jaunzems-Fernuk will discuss four major components during the workshop, including:

1. Mental Health, An Overview – This will be an in-depth review of the big three; anger, anxiety, and depression. Jaunzems-Fernuk will discuss genetic and environmental factors that impact stress and mental health, share current research, review where to access supports and assessments and give some personal context to these issues and concerns. This topic will also include development of Mental Health Literacy, which includes; understanding mental illness/disorders and their treatments, decreasing stigma and increasing health-seeking efficiency; understanding how to optimize and maintain good mental health, increase participation in holistic recovery based approaches to support mental health concerns and discuss ways to improve communication and helping skills of people and organizations when interacting with individuals with mental health concerns.

2. Understanding Connections: Behaviour, Boundaries, and Mental Health
3. Accessing & Strengthening Personal Power
4. Personalized Supports and Essential Q & A

“First and foremost, we know the numbers are staggering when it comes to mental illness and the more I learn about its universal impact, the more I want to share my experiences and developed ways to cope and manage; as we do have personal power over our overall mental health and everyone should be privy to that,” Jaunzems-Fernuk stated. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness and by age 40, about 50% of the population will either have or have had a mental illness in their lifetime.

If you are unable to attend, Jaunzems-Fernuk explained that there are things that you can do on your own to help maintain your mental health, which include; taking care of your body, practicing health thinking, maintaining boundaries, slowing down, having fun and exploring your passions and when in doubt, to reach out. “There are many different places to go for information both online and in the community; however, anyone seeking direction may email me, confidentially, anytime. I can direct those looking for information towards supports from free to fee based connections in Saskatchewan; including supports for on-going or emergent care.”

Jaunzems-Fernuk does approximately six presentations similar to this each year, and although the number is growing, she ensures that there is room in her schedule to accommodate the growing need. “I enjoy taking this work into communities because I feel it is within community or school-based events where we can have much impact by empowering parents, educators, caregivers and leaders to in turn empower young people.” If there is enough interest and the event is successful, Jaunzems-Fernuk said she would consider coming back to the community for another event in the future.

Mental health is an important issue for Jaunzems-Fernuk, as it has helped lead her on a path in life that she never imagined. “For me personally, mental health and a general sense of wellbeing were not always easy for me to achieve. In addition, stress was always portrayed as an unavoidable burden, one must simply endure.” Without a sense of direction, Jaunzems-Fernuk said that while growing up, she developed a disconnection from the adults in her life, which eventually led to dropping out of high school, leaving home early, which also coincided with her becoming a parent late in her teens. After discovering some “amazing female role models,” Jaunzems-Fernuk decided to pursue a career in education. “I hoped to become the kind of adult who could potentially support others who were also lost along the way.” Through a 20 year career in education, Jaunzems-Fernuk had opportunities to learn and grow and was able to be a part of the lives of many children and families. Through this journey, Jaunzems-Fernuk had the opportunities to work with young people and their families in the area of mental health and through this experience, pursued accreditation as a counsellor. “At each step along the way, I remained attuned to my own needs, reflective of my growing experiences, and I eventually became interested in research, from education and health risks to resilience. I started using what I was learning to continue to grow my own awareness and skills, supporting myself and others with each new step in the journey. The sense of power I felt over my own state of health and wellbeing was something I felt compelled to continue to share with others and I love sharing the power of this work; it has truly morphed from a personal endeavor to a professional passion.”

Contact judy@prairieskyeducation.ca, or call/text (306) 986-2663 to learn more about this event, or to reach out for confidential support.

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