By Jenn Snell
Being an executive for SAMH was an amazing experience and definitely impacted who I am as a person today. Before SAMH I only wanted to be an addictions counsellor after finishing my degree in Psychology, but after being part of SAMH I really wanted more involvement with the mental health/illness side of my profession. This is what led me to the Addictions and Mental Health Post Graduate Program at Humber College that I am currently completing.
SAMH helped me become a mental health advocate and try to get rid of the stigma around mental health and illness. I enjoy answering the question “what would be one of your goals for the future?” with “disintegrating the stigma around mental health and illness” as my answer. It makes me happy. I say this because people usually would say getting married, finding a job, [add any regular goal here]. It is something I really want to achieve and I give most of the credit to SAMH.
Other than becoming more involved in the mental health field and becoming an advocate, I also found a family with the different executives and volunteers. I enjoyed getting together every Wednesday with them because we all got along like a family. And when I say like a family I mean fights and all, where reading week came along at the perfect time because we were starting to bicker like all siblings and family members do. They were my SAMH family and I loved them all unconditionally.
We were also very similar. We all had our own mental health issues that we had to deal with. I liked this because I knew I could open up to them since I knew they would understand what I was feeling. Other than my best friend, I didn’t feel like I could completely do that until I became a part of SAMH.
I am very proud of SAMH and what they have accomplished at Carleton University. But, with SAMH I also have to give a shout out to Jack.Org Carleton Chapter as well. I do this because when I was with SAMH we were just starting up our own chapter and building a club from the ground up. I was “Jack.Org Carleton Chapter’s representative,” as my formal SAMH executive title. I also consider myself to be a founder because I was one of the first people to create the building blocks for this club. Now that they are their own club and off doing their own magic around campus, I feel like a proud mother seeing the new executives helping the club grow and become the club I knew it could be.
Finally, I cannot finish this post without saying thank you to my SAMH family. I want to say thank you for accepting me and all my quirkiness, for helping me become the person I am today, for nursing me when I was hurt and for just being yourself.
Keep disintegrating the stigma.