Peer Navigators

Peer Navigators are people with lived experience of mental health challenges, who understand what it’s like to navigate the mental health system, and what it’s like to live with obstacles to your health and wellbeing. 

Peer Outreach

Peer Navigators are available to do outreach presentations to or organisations and community groups in Edmonton. Find out more about what is available at the Network and through other community services.

The Peer Navigator Service is available to everyone. You can choose to meet in-person or virtually. 

Learn more about our Peer Support program.

Meet Our Peer Navigators

Zarley Jacknisky

Sherry Stasiuk

What can I expect from a one-on-one session?

Peer Navigators can offer a listening ear and provide you with information and resources to support you on your wellness journey. Peer Navigators have their own lived experience of mental health struggles, and can provide personalized support and guidance.

Fill out the form below to book a 1:1 meeting with a Peer Navigator. 

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Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.

Zarley Jacknisky

Hi and hello, my name is Zarley Jacknisky and I’m a Peer Navigator with Wellness Network. Leading up to this job my life was littered with lived experience in the form of poly-substance use disorder, treatment resistant depression, anxiety and ADD. All of these conditions hampered my enjoyment of life for most of my days, to the point that working and independence seemed too out of reach to handle. 

I remember a few years ago, when I started doing art and how impactful that was for my recovery. In a lot of ways, I saw it as an act of defiance towards all these conditions I couldn’t shake. Confidence skyrocketed, boredom became a relic, and most importantly I felt like I had something to catch a new buzz with. Over time I just stuck with it and did it in isolation for the most part. Fortunately for myself, as that was getting stale, I met David Prodan who was the Strategy Lead for e4c at the time. This encounter was very much a life-altering one in ways I couldn’t imagine before. After being asked to help facilitate drop-in collage classes, a lot of doors opened for me and empowered me to be myself. Upon the conclusion of these classes I was tasked with preparing a zine and its subsequent release party/gallery showing. Having David believe in me and trust me to put something together on this scale was a huge moment for me, and that night is something I’ll never forget. Seeing all the joyous faces of those who were apart of the zine and getting to show their art was extremely rewarding. I realized then that community and art was where I wanted to dedicate my energy to.  

Wellness Network is chock full of individuals who also have a desire to uplift and provide joy in whatever way they can. Art has a very transformative effect on individuals and providing a space for like-minded people to gather is very much needed in the current state of the world. Reducing social isolation leads to improved wellness and it’s wonderful to be a part of. I’ve seen firsthand all the connections made in our classes, folks who had gone years without making new friends suddenly had fostered a new sense of self-esteem and self-worth. It’s always a delight for me to hear people’s stories and give them a space to unabashedly be themselves. My hope is that I can be a part of the growth of all those who benefit from our programming for years to come. The Wellness Network and all our partners do such a good job of filling the gaps in mental health care, and I’m honoured to work alongside fellow peers in their personal journey.  

Michelle Black

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 in 2008 when I experienced a manic episode and was hospitalized for three weeks at the University of Alberta Hospital. I also experienced a severe depressive episode in 2013 where I was hospitalized for three weeks at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.


There have been other times in my life when I experienced some breakdown and crisis signs due to certain stressors and I persevered and did things for myself, and because of that no hospitalization has been required since 2013. During my second hospitalization I met a peer with lived experience of recovery from a group

called “Footsteps” – I was so inspired by the way she was telling her story, with what I call her “confidence stance”, that I wanted to be her. So when I got out of the hospital I took the Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®)
course, founded by Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D., which led me to many other opportunities to do peer related work!!! 


Check it out …

So now, because of my lived experience with Bipolar, this qualifies me to do this type of peer work, how awesome is that!!! I feel I am here because of the path that lies behind me. Finding out that from my struggles, I have found my strengths – the strengths that have brought me to where I am today.


A realization that my passion is to help others to realize their full potential – to find out what their gifts and talents are, and to use them wholeheartedly. A realization that life is what we make it and finding that balance is a skill. Constantly learning about myself and the challenges I face. Taking one step at a time, enjoying each and every moment that life has to offer!!!


I have learnt that I am more than my diagnosis, I am a daughter, sister, spouse, mother, and auntie. I am a community member, employee, advocate, friend, and a peer with lived experience of recovery. I am a singer and song writer, musician, artist, poet, author, and so much more.


I now like to say … “I may have Bipolar, but it

doesn’t have me … I also believe it stands for

Beautiful Person”!!!

Sherry Stasiuk

Hi my name is Sherry Stasiuk and I am a peer with lived experience of living with a mental health diagnosis and chronic pain. I have been working as a Peer Educator and Peer Supporter and Navigator with the Wellness Network and Alberta Health Services since 2013.

I love to share about my own experiences of my mental health journey to encourage others in their own journey to wellness. I share about my struggles and how I was able to overcome them which has made me a strong and resilient woman. I often share what has helped me in my journey so that it will give others hope that it is possible to get well and to live a life with purpose and meaning.

I share about my journey when I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD and severe anxiety and depression and that I felt my life was over. There were many years in my life that I struggled with severe depression and lacked direction and purpose. I felt lost and discouraged because I was told I would never teach even though I graduated with my Teaching degree. I struggled with back and knee issues which also made my road to recovery difficult.

Then a major life event happen which caused me to spiral further into discouragement and I hit rock bottom with my mental and physical health. When I reflect about this crisis event, I now know that it was the best thing that happened because it was at this point in my life that I finally found a psychiatrist who wouldbe instrumental in my recovery journey. I spent many years under his care where I learned valuable information that was key to helping me create a stable life and stay well. I was also able to stabilize my emotions and find balance from the medications he prescribed. After 7 years of therapy, I felt better that I had most of my life and I was ready for new opportunities.

What is so awesome is that I found the opportunity to become a facilitator which put
me in a whole new career direction when I became a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) facilitator with AHS. The work I was doing as a facilitator of wellness action planning for individuals, put me in a NEW path of a NEW career in mental health and educating others.

I had found opportunities to facilitate wellness programs such as Footsteps and Working on Wellness. All these opportunities led me to the work I am most passionate about with the Wellness Network and Prosper Place. For 8 years I have
been a Mental Health Peer Navigator and facilitator. I continue my passion of educating and helping others find resources to help them in their recovery journey and to find balance and achieve success in their lives.

My dreams of teaching and helping others continues to this day. I love sharing my experiences of my mental health journey to inspire and give others hope that recovery is possible and that you too can make your dreams come true. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to make my dreams come true, but it was worth it. If I ever get discouraged, I like to remind myself this:” I was the girl that was told she couldn’t, but she did.

I will end by sharing what recovery means to me:
“Recovery is a process of new beginnings to a new me, living one day at a time. It’s taking care of myself and believing that I have something positive to offer others. It’s being able to live a life with meaning and purpose. Whereby I don’t dwell on my past mistakes, and instead I focus on living today changing what I can and knowing that everyday is a new day and new beginning filled with hope to rewrite my destiny.”

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What is Peer Support?

Meet our Peer Navigators