Our MHL Champions
We are committed to creating and delivering the highest quality mental health literacy information, research, education and resources. And, we can’t possibly do all of this important work alone! This is where our champions make an incredible difference: by collaborating on a variety of initiatives and integrating the mental health literacy message directly into their communities of practice.
Our MHL champions come from a wide scope of professional backgrounds and expertise! Get to know them by reading their bios below.
Dr. Wendy Carr is a Professor of Teaching Emerita in the University of British Columbia Faculty of Education. After a long career in K-12 education as a teacher and district level consultant and in post-secondary as a teacher educator and administrator, she now supports BC educators to build mental health literacy in their schools and districts. She is also committed to inclusive teaching approaches that consider all parts of a learner’s identities. Wendy co-created the free, online MHL curriculum resource, LEARN, led research studies showing the effectiveness of the resource among educators, and mobilized professional learning across BC school districts. She believes that mental health literacy provides an essential foundation for learners of all ages.
Deborah is a teacher and Registered Psychologist who supports the learning and well-being of children, youth and adults in Golden Hills School Division, Siksika Nation and the community. She has been a passionate advocate for quality, evidence-based mental health resources and supports for over 30 years. It has been a privilege for Deborah to support the work of the Mental Health Literacy team. She is a mother of 2 adult children who are also on the wellness field.
Cheryl Shinkaruk is the Manager: Programs & Projects with Edmonton Catholic Schools. Cheryl has completed a master’s degree in Curriculum and Pedagogy from the University of Alberta and is a sessional instructor in Secondary Education. She is a committee member of the University of Alberta Community University Partnership, which focuses on creating or mobilizing evidence-based knowledge that impacts programs and policies. Cheryl has served the division in multiple roles, but her passion lies in championing student mental health through healthy living and active learning within a Comprehensive School Health approach. She was instrumental in developing the Edmonton Catholic Schools Mental Health Strategic Plan in collaboration with her colleagues and under the guidance of Dr. Stan Kutcher, Dr. Yifeng Wei and Andrew Baxter. She is a Mental Health Literacy Core Trainer, and she has been leading sessions for school staff in her division. Cheryl has collaborated with Dr. Yifeng Wei and Andrew Baxter in supporting student mental health research with the Elementary and High School Mental Health Curriculum Guide. She has presented at various conferences and professional development workshops across Canada and the United States. Her work is published in various research journals and educational leadership magazines.
Drew Williams is the Coordinator for Mental Health in School District 72, Campbell River, BC. He has a Master of Educational Leadership and his nearly 30 years as a teacher have included teaching at all levels as well as many years serving as District Professional Development Coordinator. He is the former co-chair of a local Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative and was a member of the leadership team for the first Foundry (a province- wide network of integrated health services for young people ages 12-24) to be created in BC. Drew has worked for many years as a consultant to non-profit organizations and local governments in the creation of educational programs and learning resources. He also co-founded a successful national non-profit that empowers youth to make positive change at school, at home and in the community. Drew agrees strongly with the World Health Organization’s declaration that there is no health without mental health.