Camosun Student Profile: Megan Niles, Mental Health and Addictions Certificate Program

Megan Niles first completed her Health Care Assistant certificate at Camosun in 2015 and returned last September to study in the Mental Health and Addictions program.

“I can feel comfortable being myself at Camosun,” she says. “I really like the diversity. At Camosun, everyone is really friendly and supportive and I feel that you’re allowed to be your unique self and that everyone is accepting of you.”

Her current field of study is informed by lived experience and a desire to help others. “I completed the health care assistant program and worked in that field for awhile before I moved back to Victoria,” she explains. “I have personal experience with mental health and addictions struggles in my past and I want to use my personal experience as an asset to help others who are going through similar struggles.”

Her program combines two terms of study with an essential practicum work term and she knows that she is gaining the critical, job-ready training that will ensure her professional success. “Speaking from experience, I feel that no amount of study can fully prepare you for the needs of the individuals that you’re going to be dealing with until you go out and do it. I learn hands on, so the practicum will be really helpful for me.”

To prepare for her upcoming practicum, she also credits her instructors with giving her a grounding in essential best practices in the field. “We’re learning about reflecting on ourselves and our own values,” she says. “When we work with clients it’s important that we don’t impose our own values and that we learn about different mental health disorders and different interventions for those individuals. Patient centred care is about meeting people where they are at.”

Looking ahead to the completion of Camosun’s new Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness, now under construction at Interurban campus, Niles is excited about the interdisciplinary future of health education at Camosun. “I think it’s fantastic that the health programs are going to be together in one building,” she says. “If you’re a student in a different program taking similar courses in the health field, you will get to know each other before starting your professional work. You can learn from each other and have these great connections all throughout your career.”