Erin helps facilitate and run several peer to peer health promotion initiatives such as the Peer Health Educators and Peer Wellness Navigators. Without her leadership and guidance of these programs, they would not be to the standard that they are today. She helps other students support student mental health while also actively caring for the mental health of student volunteers and staff. She is extremely passionate about student centred work and voice, ensuring that the mental health concerns of students currently attending Queen's are listened to and then actionable steps are done to accommodate their needs. She is wonderful!
Erin is someone that personally and professionally I strive to be like. She is personable, welcoming, approachable, and considerate of all experiences. She is a strong believer in meeting people where they are at and helping support in an individualistic manner that addresses personal experiences. Erin is a funny and bubbly personality. I always feel like my cup is being filled (metaphorically) when I am around her.
Everyone has mental health and mental health fluctuates throughout everyone’s lives. Mental health means that although you will have ups and downs, you also have the ability to enjoy the small moments, be mindful, and get through the hard times. That happens when you take care of yourself, you feel supported by your community, and you reach out when you need it.
The way I approach supporting student mental health is to create a culture of openness and acceptance to encourage students to bring issues up before they create large impacts, focusing on the preventative nature of mental health and taking care of ourselves. There is a quote by Les Brown that says, “Ask for help not because you’re weak, but because you want to remain strong”. I hope that any student I am working with feels comfortable to speak with me and I encourage everyone to have open conversations about mental health and view it as a sign of strength and courage.
--- Erin Burns