Peer Educator and Community Engagement and Promotion Officer, SESLHD Recovery College
“We often see things differently to clinicians, and many clinicians have expressed that they learn from us.”
Sandy Degrassi has been an educator all her life
Over the course of her career, she has been involved in teaching, training and development in organisations ranging from local health districts to universities, covering areas as diverse as legal aid to nursing mothers. She holds a string of qualifications including a Master of Education in Management and Human Resources Development, and runs her own consultancy.
Sandy’s first encounter with the Recovery College however, was not as teacher but as a student. She joined the College after serious illness and other life issues left her with depression. She explains attending courses and talking to others in the group helped with her recovery.
Ever entrepreneurial, Sandy had ideas for other courses and, impressed by the cut of her CV, the college offered her a peer educator position. Sandy co-developed and taught a course on Resilience. She’s since gone on to teach other courses including Skills for Educators; Physical Health Wellbeing; Building the Career of Your Choice; and Stress Management.
Sandy is so committed to the college and skilled at networking that she sought and secured the community engagement and promotion role she currently holds.
Her commitment is also fired by the fact that she is the support person for family members living with very challenging mental illness.
“I love being able to help others by teaching, by sharing my skills and personal experience. It is very rewarding knowing what I’m sharing is worthwhile and helping others cope with depression and move towards recovery.
“I believe we go through experiences in life for a purpose. We live and grow and need to use that experience to help others.”
Sandy believes in the value of professional peer roles and in a diverse workforce.
“If you’re trying to problem-solve and everybody is the same, you’ll all come up with the same solution…if you have a lot of different people you’re going to have a broader view and a much better-quality solution.”
In addition to her Masters degree, Sandy holds a Bachelor of Teaching (Education and Training of Adults); Certificate IV TAE (Training and Assessment); Diploma of Business FLM (Frontline Management), and – last but not least– life experience.