Carlee Power


Help when it's needed most

Listening and counselling leads to success

Practical Nursing student Carlee Power had been getting her best marks since elementary school. She was exercising regularly, and had good relationships with those around her, including her boyfriend, her parents – even her teenage sister. But last July when Carlee was doing her mid-term lab assessment for one of her courses, she ran out of time and couldn’t complete the assignment.

“I burst out crying,” says the 22-year-old Newfoundland native, laughing at the misfortune of the situation. 

More seriously, she explains that she wanted to do her assessment perfectly. 

In 2015, after a visit to the library at her university in Newfoundland left her frozen in fear, Carlee was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. She started taking medication for her conditions, and life got better for a while. 

But last summer, as Carlee’s school work and household responsibilities started piling up, she realized she had reached her tipping point again. She went to the counselling office at Learner Success Services, and was matched with Donna George, the College’s coordinator of counselling and wellness. 

Donna listened. She’d ask Carlee what was on her mind. She’d let her ramble. And she’d encourage her to come to her own conclusions. “Donna was holding me by the hand, and leading me to my own success,” says Carlee. 

Now, Carlee’s grades are back up, and she’s managing the chores of home life a lot better. She aims to do her preceptorship on a dialysis unit or an oncology unit. “[Counselling] threw me a life ring,” she says.  

Last September, Alberta’s advanced education minister Marlin Schmidt announced the province will fund $2.5 million of mental health support for Calgary universities and colleges. At the announcement, which took place at Bow Valley College, Carlee made a speech about her struggles with her mental health, and how talking to Donna at Learner Success Services helped her overcome them.  

“It changed my life, for the better,” says Carlee. “Before I was seeing Donna, and all that stress was on me, doors were slowly closing for me. Now, they’ve reopened up.”

On September 8, 2017, it was announced Bow Valley College would receive $310,000 from the mental health post-secondary funding. 

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