Mental Health Week is from May 1 – 7 and the NTHSSA would like to highlight Karen Brown, Manager of the Mental Health division. Karen shares her journey in pursuing a career in healthcare and the importance of mental health and wellness.
Karen arrived in the NWT in 1993 to pursue a career in addictions and mental health. “In 1994 I was hired as a youth resident care counsellor in a pilot project at Northern Addictions Services for youth involved in inhalant abuse. When that project ended, I worked for a couple of northern airlines before taking a role as a Youth Addictions Worker at the Tree of Peace followed by employment as a Child Youth and Family Coordinator with the Yellowknives Dene First Nations.”
“In 2004, I started my journey to become a Registered Nurse and in 2008 graduated with distinction from the University of Victoria with a BScN. I began my nursing career in 2008 on Psychiatry and worked in a variety of nursing roles since. I have now come full circle in my current role as Manager of Mental Health services at Stanton.”
“I have a strong affinity to help people live into their potential and to support those who struggle with mental health and/or addiction issues. Being a nurse in mental health is a specialty that pushes us all to recognize that “there is no cast, no scar, no stitches. No X-ray with the evidence of pain. Rarely is their physical evidence of mental illness, but for those suffering from pervasive mental illness the pain and exhaustion is deep and heavy” (Emily Saunders, LMFT).”
Karen believes in the importance of mental health and wellness and having the right supports to discuss it in our daily lives and in the workplace. “Mental health is something that we all need to talk about, to raise awareness and remove the stigma. Be the sunlight in someone’s darkness.”
With a strong belief in balancing life and work, Karen ensures that she has time to rejuvenate and refresh through a variety of spots and leisure activities with those she’s closest with so she is able to provide care to others in a respectful way. “I am blessed to call Yellowknife my home where I work and play every day! It is on traditional territory that I have greeted each day with humility and grace to learn, to grow, and to live.”