Marika Sandrelli
Written by Elaine O’Connor, Senior Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

Meet Mental Health and Substance Use Knowledge Exchange Leader, Marika Sandrelli, who explains how clowning around may help with post-traumatic growth.

Meet Marika Sandrelli, Knowledge Exchange Leader, Mental Health and Substance Use.

“I was a community organizer and activist. I worked in the HIV/AIDS movement in Africa and in outreach in the Downtown Eastside. I always saw the health care system as confusing. I advocated from the outside. One day someone said, ‘You have to learn the rules before you break them.’ So I joined. It was an awakening: assumptions I had about health care softened. I witnessed compassion and incredible work being done.

I work with colleagues who, despite huge demands, resolve to alleviate suffering even though they’re exposed to stress and trauma. I’m so moved when a patient or client shares their transformation or colleagues experience inner shifts that offer new possibilities for their work.

My passion is animals. I have three dogs, and before moving to Mission in January, we fostered neglected horses, goats, even an iguana on a small acreage in Maple Ridge. I was also trained in clowning for health care. I have a clown persona; her name Starry Blue Sky. I do laughter yoga and meditation. I’m really fascinated by post-traumatic growth and how education can be a form of healing. Every day I learn something; it’s humbling to be there.”

- Marika Sandrelli, Knowledge Exchange Leader, Mental Health and Substance Use

Each week throughout 2018 we’ll share a new Humans of Fraser Health story with you. Follow along as we profile some of the amazing people working in our health authority who bring their authentic selves to work every day.

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