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Josie Swan-Merrison is a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychosis (PEPP) at LHSC.
Through her work, Josie demonstrates commitment to the wellbeing and best interests of her patients and is known by her colleagues as an advocate dedicated to dispelling mental health stigma. Josie exhibits these qualities both inside and outside of the hospital through many community initiatives. In collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association London-Middlesex, Josie co-leads a program called Rock Talk which allows clients to express feelings by sharing music they find meaningful. This is just one example of Josie’s commitment to patients’ treatment and recovery.
Josie is known to create a safe environment for her patients, and keeps an inventory of toiletries, snacks, books, art supplies and music in her office in order to make them comfortable during their stay. One of her nominators expresses the impact that these seemingly small gestures can have on a patient, stating, “To a young person who is afraid, confused, and lonely, these gestures of kindness, truly Ms. Swan-Merrison’s daily mission, are carried out with the unwavering belief that to recognize another’s basic humanity is the first stepping stone towards trust and recovery.”
In reflecting on how Josie expresses LHSC’s core values through her work, one of her nominators notes, “Josie lives every core value in every interaction. Through the development of trust she has ensured that patients have what they need to fully participate in every aspect of their treatment, including being a part of something that validates who they are and their recovery goals.”