Friday, August 20, 2021
After living through periods of darkness, Cheri has made it her mission to shine a light on mental illness.
A CDI College staff member in Alberta, she has had anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder for most of her life. She reached a major turning point when she was a teenager. Around the time of a devastating car accident, she began having difficulty in school and experienced panic attacks.
“I noticed my grades were slipping, my mood was slipping, I was crying, I wasn’t doing very well,” she says.
She sought professional medical support and found a path forward.
“My recovery journey was tough. As you battle the difficulties, you feel every emotion, to say the least. You’re up and down. It’s a rollercoaster.”
She credits those close to her for providing valuable support. She talks openly with her mother about mental health and her husband joins her in helpful exercises.
“All problems can be solved. We just have to figure it out,” Cheri says.
These days, her personal experience informs her efforts to help others dealing with mental health issues. At her campus, she leads a mental health support group for students. Outside of work, she runs a website with blog posts, resources, and information about her journey. In addition, she continues to develop her own skills and knowledge. She has trained in mental health first aid, professional counselling, mindfulness, and more.
As someone who is open about her own experiences, Cheri emphasizes the importance of spreading awareness about mental health.
“I think it’s important to share your story,” she says. “It’s the ultimate power to stand up to the stigma that surrounds mental health.”
Mental Health Support:
BC Mental Health Support Line: Call 310.6789 (no area code). This number will connect you to your local BC crisis line without a wait or busy signal, 24 hours a day. Crisis line workers are there to listen and support you as well as refer you to community resources.
Alberta Mental Health Helpline: 1.877.303.2642
Alberta Addictions Helpline: 1.866.332.2322
Telehealth Ontario: 1.866.797.0000
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1.833.456.4566 (24/7) or text 45645 (4pm to 12am ET).