Meet Maggie — Mount Allison’s Mental Health/Harm Reduction Educator
2/27/2020 1:22:08 PMMaggie Brewer has worked in some very tough situations. She spent 13 years in Halifax with some of the province’s most at-risk youth, ages 12-21, who are in the care of the Department of Community Services.
“I worked with them as they lived their lives and advocated in their best interest,” she says. “Everything from school meetings to basketball practice to probation appointments, I was there.”
A graduate of Holland College’s Child and Youth Care program, Brewer continued her professional development throughout her career in Halifax. After completing a program in mindfulness-based stress reduction, she knew it was time to consider moving on to another growth opportunity.
She joined Mount Allison’s Wellness Centre in February 2019 as the University’s Mental Health/Harm Reduction Educator. In the wake of cannabis legalization in Canada, Brewer’s first major task was to educate Mount Allison students on cannabis harm reduction. She is now focused on mental health on campus.
“Being a post-secondary student today is an increased time for stress,” she says. “It is important for me to take a proactive approach in helping students become more self-aware of the changes they see in themselves and others and make them aware of the supports that are on campus.”
Mental health support services are available at the Wellness Centre, on the bottom floor of the Student Centre, five days a week. Brewer’s most recent addition to the programming is the Zen Den. Located in the Wellness Centre, the Zen Den is a space students can go to unplug and destress on Mondays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Students can book this 30-minute service by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I ask students to leave their technology and backpacks in my office and they spend thirty minutes in the Zen Den, which has a meditation mat, happy light, mindfulness activities, colouring sheets, and a very calming atmosphere,” says Brewer.
She is also currently growing a peer support program and identifying mental health champions who will take a leadership role in campus activities.
Brewer says the key to maintaining positive mental health is self-care.
“I recommend regular exercise, health eating and sleep patterns, and a mindfulness practice,” she says.
For her own mental health, Brewer enjoys spending time outside and going on adventures, as well as hot yoga.