Focus on Mental Health

Suicide isn’t painless

Nick Brandt, front row second from right, with his family in happier times. (Photo courtesy of the Brandt family)

(Photo courtesy of the Brandt family)

No one saw it coming. Not family, not friends, not anyone at the university he attended. On March 23, 2018, after babysitting his nieces and nephews, 18-year-old Nicholas (Nick) Penner Brandt returned to the apartment he shared with an older brother and twin sister, drank poison and died.

Meeting the mental health needs of students

RJC students writing final exams in the school’s chapel. The pressure of assignments and exams is among the many stresses that can lead to mental health issues for some students. (Photo by Bev Epp)

Are more students struggling with mental health issues these days, or are they just better able to articulate their struggles than students once were? Jim Epp doesn’t know the answer to this question.

‘Poetry and art for mental health’

Adriel Brandt reads his poem “The Crow” at the May 3, 2018, “Art and Poetry for Mental Health” reception in Abbotsford. In the background is the photograph by Dale Klippenstein (sitting behind Brandt) accompanying the work. Communitas Supportive Care Society sponsored the art exhibit, focusing on mental health issues. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Poet Robert Martens shares his work at the Hear and See: Art and Poetry for Mental Health event in Abbotsford, B.C., on May 3, 2018. The exhibit, sponsored by the Communitas Supportive Care Society, gave voice to mental health issues. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders may not sound like subjects for art, but a recent exhibit at the Reach gallery proved that art is a powerful medium for educating and talking about mental illness.

Resilience Road leads to mental health for women

Signs outside the sanctuary of Charleswood Mennonite Church, where the Resilience Road retreat was held. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Society is witnessing mental health struggles increase at an alarming rate, and the push for women’s voices to be heard grows stronger. At the same time, Mennonite Women Manitoba decided to travel the “road to resilience” this year for their annual retreat.

Healing for soul and spirit

Singing has always been a passion for Sara Fretz. Long before she took up the profession of music therapy she found music “very therapeutic” for herself through her years of growing up. But music is also prayerful, and draws her close to God—faith and singing go together for her.  She “comes to herself as a person” when she sings.

Depression resurrection

Today begins like any other, the type that has become common for me. I cheerfully get out of bed at a decent time, feed my children a healthy breakfast, tidy up and then do a boring 20 minutes on the elliptical machine while they begin their chores. It may not sound revolutionary, but I marvel at the grace contained in these everyday happenings.

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