Promoting hope and raising awareness

Self-proclaimed workaholic Stan Rossowski does what he can to promote mental wellness

As one of Winnipeg’s biggest mental health advocates, Stan Rossowski has founded film festival CineSanity, while also working for Dual Recovery Anonymous, and creating other media projects. Dylan Hewlett

Stan Rossowski is a busy man.

A self-proclaimed “workaholic,” Rossowski is a major player in Winnipeg’s mental wellness community using both his time and skills to try to erase stigma and raise awareness about mental health.

“My main job is to promote hope,” Rossowski said.

Rossowski is the founder of Cinesanity, a project that started in 2008. Cinesanity is a program that screens one film on the fourth Monday of every month at Micah House. Their mission statement is to teach the public about mental health and addiction issues.

As a volunteer for the past 20 years, Rossowski has seen a lot of change in the mental wellness community, both in terminology and in treatment.

“Since the late ‘60s, in terms of treatment, we have become much more humane,” he said.

However, the mental wellness community is “still dealing with stigma and a lack of understanding in a big way,” he cautioned. 

“Often people just need a little human contact,” Rossowski said.

Since the late ‘60s, in terms of treatment, we have become much more humane.

Stan Rossowski, founder, Cinesanity

Rossowski practices this philosophy with all the volunteer initiatives he works with - and those extend beyond Cinesanity.

Rossowski volunteers as a sponsor for Dual Recovery Anonymous, an independent 12-step support group for people with a dual-diagnosis, when someone is considered to be suffering from both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem.

He has also been involved with a project called Focusing the Frame in which formerly homeless participants are given cameras to tell their story.

Rossowski’s work as a professional photographer has helped him look at mental wellness through many different lenses. 

“Everyone has their own unique experience,” he said.

With personal experiences of both depression and addiction, he calls his condition “Stan Syndrome.” 

Throughout everything he does, Rossowski said he maintains a positive outlook paired with a “belief in recovery and that people can change and become stronger.”

When asked how he keeps up with all his different support groups and initiatives he shakes his head and laughs.

“I’m not supposed to be able to do this. I mean, I’m 61 years old!”

Published in Volume 66, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 12, 2011)

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