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Finding Happiness Through the Lens

Jun 7, 2022

The Inspiring Journey of a Pinehouse Boy from Grief to Hope

With the collaboration of young individuals in the community, Dre Erwin, a primary care nurse, crafted a book that serves as a beacon for raising awareness about mental health and suicide in northern Saskatchewan, while highlighting the therapeutic potential of photography.

"The Little Boy who Found Happiness, in the Most Unusual Place" soared to the number one spot on Amazon shortly after its release on September 3. Erwin, who has witnessed the profound effects of depression in his role as a nurse in an isolated community, was spurred by the widespread issue and the limited resources available in northern areas.

He was inspired to take action, stating, "I felt it was my duty to do more, to find ways to prevent it, and help the youth in other communities."

In 2016, Erwin initiated a therapeutic photography club, which proved to be highly beneficial. The positive impact of the club prompted him to embark on writing a book. It was only natural to involve the youth in this project.

"The youth wanted something engaging, something like an anime," Erwin said. He collaborated with a ten-year-old from the community who created the lead character, and a dozen more young contributors provided illustrations and photographs used as backgrounds in the book.

Erwin's commitment to inclusivity extended to the translation of the story into Cree, thanks to Cree teacher Alfred Tinker from Pinehouse. This addition not only elevates the book's cultural significance but also provides an opportunity for language learning.

Erwin's photography page on Facebook caught the attention of a professional editor who generously offered their expertise in editing the book for free.

Moreover, Dre Erwin established the Canadian Photo Health Authority, an umbrella organization that has now forged connections across Canada. His vision is to foster better communication and share positive messages through this platform.

Erwin is a strong advocate for therapeutic photography, emphasizing that anyone with a cell phone can partake in this therapeutic activity. Through the book, he aims to illustrate how this can be achieved in any community, encouraging individuals to contemplate the emotions and thoughts associated with their photographs and the impact they want to convey to others.

Learn more here.

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