Cat’s Track #69 – Joy Pavelich

 In Cat's Track

Welcome to Cat’s Track Episode 69, with guest Joy Pavelich.

Find “Chasing My Son Across Heaven” here:

A lifelong communicator, working across the spectrum from government to corporate to non-profit, Joy also holds a Master of Arts degree in Professional Communications. Her Master’s research was in trauma and narratives and the importance of sharing stories to move past the damaging impact of trauma. When she lost her 20 year-old son Eric Schmit to suicide in August, 2013, Joy transferred her skills into supporting mental health awareness, advocacy and action.

Presently, she is the Executive Lead, National Stakeholder Engagement at Canadian Mental Health Association – National where she works within the Program Innovation portfolio. Previous to joining CMHA National her work in the mental health landscape included responsibility for CMHA Calgary’s 60th anniversary campaign which focused on the strengths required for recovery from mental illness and addiction disorders, asking participants the question “What Made You Stronger?” She formed an alliance with the University of Calgary to analyze the conversations from a stakeholder advisory lens to develop long-term organizational goals. She presented on the published findings at the CMHA Nationwide conference in 2016. Joy has been part of many mental health initiatives including the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s National Advisory Council on the Mental Health of Emerging Adults, the advisory panel of MoBros, a Movember funded project to develop a national men’s depression screening tool, and looking at Integrated Youth Services as a model of delivery for Alberta. Most recently she was appointed to the Province of Alberta’s Mental Health Review Panel roster.

Joy and her surviving sons Justin and Conner are all advocates for mental health and wellbeing. They have been featured in Canadian Living magazine on how families are openly talking about suicide and mental illness and profiled in the Calgary-based Home of the Brave initiative, for their work in mental health awareness. Joy’s book, “Chasing My Son Across Heaven,” was just released on August 20th. It chronicles her and Eric’s journey through his mental health struggles and ultimately his death, and the aftermath of which parallels her own research in trauma narratives – the sense-making and rebuilding process. The book will be released August 20, 2020 is available worldwide and can be found at both bookstores and online.