Meet the Staff - Michelle Depner
In this edition of "Meet The Westwind Staff", we are asking four questions of one of Westwind's Registered Dietitian, Michelle Depner.
What led you to Westwind? I first learned about Westwind just after graduating as a dietitian and was intrigued by the treatment model, team and beautiful setting. My career took me to Alberta and then Ontario where I had the pleasure of practicing dietetics in a variety of settings—long term care facilities, hospitals, diabetes clinics, family doctor offices and community hubs. Across these settings, I was seeing how damaged relationships with food were impacting client’s quality of life. This motivated me to focus my practice on food and mental health. In 2018, I was ready to come home to Manitoba and was excited that this timing aligned with an opportunity at Westwind.
What has inspired you about working in mental health? I continue to be inspired by the incredible resilience and commitment that I see in people as they work to repair their relationship with food. Seeing how nutrition heals the body and mind is a great privilege of being a dietitian in mental health.
If you could say one thing to someone seeking treatment, what would it be? I would quote the words of the late A.A. Milne-- “You are stronger than you seem, braver than you believe and smarter than you think you are.”
What is one thing you practice to maintain positive mental health? During a challenging time in my past, I picked up the habit of identifying one “best part of my day”. There were many days where I struggled to find the positive or it felt mechanical, but, in time, this practice of gratitude and celebration felt natural. Now, I look forward to the routine in our family where we spend a few moments every evening sharing these celebrations.