These 3 professionals are innovating how we address mental health in Vancouver

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Photo: Adler University

It’s easy to donate money, it’s easy to voice support, but it’s difficult to embark on a meaningful career path that enables you to dedicate your work week to just causes, without sacrificing your personal or financial career goals.

Difficult, but certainly not impossible.

We’ve partnered with Adler University to highlight three extraordinary young professionals working to tackle issues of Mental Health through business and entrepreneurship in Vancouver. These three embody the profound achievements that can be made when good business and social responsibility work in harmony.

Adler University is the leading academic institution advancing socially responsible practice, healthy communities, and a more just society. Across multiple disciplines and fields, including psychology, counseling, art therapy, and public leadership, their alumni are changing how we discuss and treat mental health in Vancouver. Here’s how:

Constance Lynn Hummel, Entrepreneur and Mental Health Leader

Photo: Constance Lynn Hummel

If you’re not prepared to take an honest look at your own strengths, struggles, beliefs, and biases, and grow from what you find, it’s almost impossible to help someone else through that exploration without your “stuff” clouding the process.

Since graduating in 2010, Constance Lynn Hummel has earned more than a few professional titles. As a Psychotherapist, Values-Based Leadership/Executive Coach, Certified Daring Way™ & Dare to Lead™ Facilitator (trained by Brene Brown), Speaker, Mental Health Consultant, Adjunct Faculty, and Entrepreneur, Hummel leads a life dedicated to helping people both break-out-of and form new patterns.

It started that I wanted to understand people, myself included,” says Hummel. This curiosity led Constance to Adler University where she gained the practical experience that would ultimately lead to an incredible entrepreneurial career, dedicating towards helping people achieve their best selves.

“In my first year, my social justice practicum allowed me to be part of a team writing provincial mental health intervention policy. In my second year, I had two clinical practicums…by the time I graduated I had over 1100 hrs experience working in the field. I felt that Adler allowed me to learn theory paired with the skills to practice in the real world.”

Theory and practice led Constance to form a Career that combines business with meaning, and those skills have certainly paid off; Constance was the 2019 Gold Alumni Award Recipient.

I love that my career allows me the flexibility to meet each person or group exactly where they are and offer creative ways to find solutions. I am continually blown away by the vulnerability and courage I get to witness daily.”

Ric Devilla, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Canadian Mental Health Association

Photo: Ric Devilla

“Be bold and daring when warranted but also be armed with knowledge and wisdom”

Ric Devilla works for the Canadian Mental Health Association where he leads a team of Vocational Rehabilitation counsellors embedded at multiple Vancouver Coastal Health locations. The aim of his work is to provide individuals struggling with multiple barriers including mental health and other psycho-social issues find autonomy and better coping strategies in an effort to live independent and productive lives.

His work is undoubtedly important, but is also deeply concerned with navigated frustrating systems that have failed those dealing with Mental Health in Vancouver, especially in the DTES. “There are systematic challenges embedded in our current infrastructure despite the government’s best attempts to address the evolving needs of society and its people,” says Devilla. “The Master’s Program in Public Policy at Adler University has provided me with an insight as to why and how decisions are made both from a provincial and federal level and what ideological guiding principles fuel them.”

It would be easy to be cynical when faced with the reality of such failing on a daily basis, Fortunately, Ric’s upbringing and education has formed an unwavering persistence and dedication to the cause he believes in most.

“I experienced multiple “aha” moments throughout my time at Adler,  however, the game changing lesson I learned is not to succumb to the frustrations I feel about the work that I do when systems fail. It is often easy to become cynical when social service agencies do not function as they should.. Having a broader understanding as a result of information learned through the Master’s program has given me more confidence in creating acceptable strategies to address those challenges in a non-traditional way.”

Marcus Wong, Tech Consultant

Photo: Marcus Wong

“Don’t stop learning, be open to new opportunities and always push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

This mantra paved the path that led Marcus Wong from an Adler University graduate to a culture consultant for top tech companies in Vancouver. In this position, Marcus helps transform workplace culture into something healthier, more agile and lean. In turn, Marcus helps these companies dedicate more time to socially conscious efforts, such as charitable donations and promoting equality and diversity in the workplace.

“Being empathetic towards your co-workers, customers, friends, and family is the key to building healthy, thriving relationships,” says Marcus. This commitment to empathy also guided Marcus in developing his own company, Kanreach, a website that connects counsellors and clients from around the world. The platform lets you search and compare therapists, ensuring clients find someone that will help guide them through meaningful change.

Photo: Adler University

Adler University is a graduate school that aims to foster students as socially responsible practitioners—educated to be effective personal and social change agents in the pursuit of justice in Canada and beyond.

Courses and programs range from psychology to art therapy and social change leadership, all of which aims to foster the development of social equality, justice, and respect through compassionate action throughout the global community.

To learn more about courses and programs, visit vancouver.adler.edu