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Faris Jean Atkinson: Advocating Mental Wellness in the Peace Region by Compassion and Wisdom

Faris Jean Atkinson: Advocating Mental Wellness in the Peace Region by Compassion and Wisdom

Meet Faris Jean Atkinson, a beacon of positivity and compassion in our community. With a heartfelt mission to spread joy and support mental health, Faris has touched countless lives through her selfless actions and dedication.

The Peace Region is ingrained in Faris’s identity, shaped by decades of profound experiences and commitment to community service. Since her family settled in Beaverlodge in 1972, Faris has woven herself into the fabric of the region, embracing its beauty, resilience, and spirit of solidarity.

Reflecting on her journey, Faris shares, "The Peace Region has been my home since my teenage years. It's where I've experienced tremendous loss and incredible moments of connection and growth." Her roots in the community run deep, and it's this profound connection that has fueled her passion for making a positive impact on those around her.

Inspired by her own experiences of loss and grief, Faris has dedicated her life to spreading love, light, and hope throughout the region. "I believe the best way to honour those we've lost is by living our best lives and serving others," she explains. This philosophy has guided her every action, propelling her into various roles of community leadership and advocacy.

Following the loss of her daughter, Jessie Jean, Faris began volunteering with Suicide Prevention and working with youth. Faris explains, “She was the reason I wrote my first book, the reason I joined Suicide Prevention, the reason I have such a passion for mental health and for overall health and wellness.”

For over a decade, Faris has engaged with high school students, guiding them through discussions on mental health and offering valuable insights on supporting friends in need. Her commitment to mental well-being has earned her accolades, including nominations and the prestigious Passionate Heart Award, recognizing her extraordinary contributions to families in crisis.

Faris's kindness extends beyond words as she offers solace to grieving families through her role as a funeral officiant. Faris is known for her ability to capture the essence of loved ones in her heartfelt services, “she has an incredible talent for really understanding the true essence of their loved one and displaying that beautifully in her services,” leaving an enduring mark on those she has comforted. Faris has also engaged in the church by stepping up to lead services for the United Churches whenever they require a Minister.

But Faris's impact doesn't stop there. As a talented singer and performer, she brings joy to our community through captivating performances in productions like CATS, Les Misérables, and Spamalot. She has also created a one woman show that has brought smiles to residents in old folks' homes from Grande Prairie to Hythe, Alberta, spreading happiness through song and dance.

She has written 4 books. Her first being inspired by her daughter, Jessie, she has written 2 about mental health and grief and 2 children's books that both promote happiness. "Mother Moose" teaches children about Cree traditions around mother earth, and man.

In addition to her artistic endeavors, Faris has a rich history of service in various roles, including managing St. John Ambulance, working as a nurse and EMT, and now sharing her expertise by teaching first aid and CPR. Her educational side spreads to teaching others to instruct these courses as well. 

"I've always believed in the power of education and awareness," Faris shares. "Whether I'm teaching first aid or leading workshops on mental health, my goal is to empower individuals and families with knowledge and resources." 

Despite facing personal tragedy and loss,  Faris remains resilient, finding strength in her faith, family, and the unwavering support of the community. "It's love that sustains me," she says. "Love for my family, my community, and the belief that together, we can overcome any obstacle."

As part of the '30 Women for 30 Years' campaign, Faris hopes to inspire future generations of women to embrace their inner strength and resilience. "We are stronger together," she affirms. "By lifting each other up and supporting one another, we can create a brighter, more compassionate world for all." Faris Jean Atkinson's legacy is one of hope, compassion, and dedication to building a stronger, more connected community, one act of kindness at a time.


A Woman of Impact for Faris was her Great Aunt, Jessie Middleton, “She was a Nurse during WWll. Brilliant, strong, elegant, dignified, and humble. She did so many amazing things, one of which was her vital role in the creation of a Palliative Care Society in Abbotsford. She died at 102, still intelligent and dignified to the end and my hero.” 

Read more here: https://www.elinorflorence.com/blog/canadian-nurses-wartime/


Other links: 

Resource Centre for Suicide Prevention

Books by Faris 


To learn more about 30 Women for 30 Years or to nominate a woman who you think has made a positive impact in our region, click here