This Mental Health Week we're featuring some of the best ....
Today, we're pleased to introduce you to Glenda Gibbon!
Glenda Gibbon is a descendant of the Brown family originally from the Wet’suwet’en Nation - Bear Clan, and born in Burns Lake, B.C. Her late grandparents are Sam and Angeline Brown.
Glenda has worked in the Indigenous Health sector for her entire career, supporting health and wellness initiatives in several Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island, as well as working in remote communities in coastal B.C. Recently, she has been honoured and thankful for the opportunity to live, learn, work and play on the traditional territory of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw Nation.
Glenda graduated from Vancouver Island University in 2006 with a degree in First Nations Studies. She started her career in health as a First Nations Health Benefits Advisor for an Indigenous organization, where she later obtained positions in Community Development and Community Health Management. In 2015, she enrolled at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University to obtain an Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership. Throughout her career she has worked in management, education, and training; however, her passion for health always led her back to working with communities to support Indigenous health and wellness.
Glenda is the Director of Yúustway (Squamish Nation Health and Wellness) where they strive to devise innovative and effective wellness programs based on a strong sense of community and family, often integrating elements of Western medicine with cultural approaches to resilience, including a sense of self, faith, and hope, such as land-based and other traditional activities.
Glenda answered the following questions for us:
Q: What is your story? Why are you an advocate for mental health?
A: I believe that providing mental health services in a culturally responsive way and working respectfully with our partners is the key to bridging the rift wrought by the colonial history and supporting mental wellness for Indigenous communities. Many of my family members have been affected by the Residential School System and I have continued to see the ongoing effects of trauma on their own generations and the future generations. It was important to me to follow my teachings and be part of the solution to support all Indigenous people in their journey for a healthy life both for themselves and their loved ones.
Q: How do you care for your own mental health?
A: Working in health has taught me the importance of taking care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The teachings of my grandmother and witnessing the intergenerational effects of trauma on my family, have increased my awareness of the importance of taking care of self and one another. I practice good health by eating a well-balanced diet; I enjoy yoga, running and Pilates and take care of myself spiritually through prayer and meditation. I try to balance each day with good thoughts and energy, and encourage others to do the same.
To learn more about Glenda, check out her website here.
Glenda, thank you for the incredible work you do in the mental health space!