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The SJP Experience: Helping Promote an Inclusive Mental Health Community

Stories | 04.21.21

At Adler University, first-year students work with community organizations through their Social Justice Practicum (SJP) to help advance social justice.  

Olivia Kornelsen, a Vancouver Campus student in the Master of Counselling Psychology programhas been paired with Myiesha, Inc. as part of her practicum placement. The organization promotes inclusivity and diversity in the mental health field by connecting people from around the world and working with them to showcase their voices, skills, and talents.  

I chose Myiesha, Inc. as my SJP site because I believe in their mission, which is to spread love and make diverse connections. My supervisor has given me the reins and allowed me to choose the projects I would like to work on, and I have even had the opportunity to publish some of my own research! I value her mentorship for the critical skills she has taught me, like how to create my own website and network in the world of mental health.  

I have had the opportunity to research and write about barriers that many face when accessing mental health services, and about poverty and mental health in Canada. I have learned so much from these opportunities. 

Currently, I am working as a research assistant on a new film called Mya. The movie is exploring themes such as parental alienation, isolation, self-harm, suicide intervention as well as physical and mental wellbeing, dance, and spirituality. Part of my responsibilities on the film is to interview members of the mental health community and amplify their diverse perspectives on the topics they mention.  

These projects are crucial because we must shine a light on all perspectives and all experiences regarding mental health and the ways different people cope with their own health and experience healthcare services. As Adler University students and future healers, it is critical that we acknowledge all people’s experiences and begin working towards making our mental health community more inclusive, diverse, and accessible for all populations.  

I always knew I wanted to pursue psychology in some capacity and after completing my bachelor’s degree in psychology, I looked ahead to Adler University to continue my education. I was drawn to Adler University because of its emphasis on social justice and I have not been disappointed.  

The SJP experience has opened my eyes to a whole worldThe program has added depth to the material I am learning in the classroom because I get to be a part of the lived version of much of what we are studying in diversity and inclusion. 

My hope is to open my own practice one day where I can work with youth and young adults as a trauma counsellor. Social justice is and will always be the most important aspect of my work as a counsellor. I have entered the counselling program at Adler University as someone who benefits from multiple forms of privilegeAs such, it has always been my mission to use this privilege to help amplify the voices of those around me who have not been heard and seen in society.  

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