Our Team

Daniel Whitehead, MA - Executive Director

Daniel Whitehead is a Regent College Graduate and ordained minister with over 10 years of full time vocational Church ministry experience in the UK. He has traveled extensively overseas working on various humanitarian projects and is a certified mediator with London School of Mediation.

Dan says:

Having spent 10 years in full time vocational church ministry, I know the levels of brokenness that a community carries, often in secret, and I have witnessed at first hand the good, the bad and the ugly approaches to mental health. Thus I have personally felt the great need for this ministry, and I can personally attest to the challenges of leading at times when my own mental health was poor. It is undoubtedly these first-hand experiences, including walking with many friends and family members through debilitating mental health struggles, that have caused me to see the value and power of Sanctuary’s work.

Jina Lee - Administrator

Jina found meaning in her work with Sanctuary after a life-changing career break wherein she saw God’s grace and provision working in a powerful way. She has volunteered serving women refugees from North Korea, and as support staff at a Christian school in Kenya. Jina is also a freelance photographer and music instructor.

Jina says:

While my friends of faith struggled with mental health issues, I struggled to find the right words to comfort them. I realized the need for greater awareness and understanding of how to journey alongside them in a caring way, and Sanctuary provides that in our churches, helping them become compassionate communities for mental health.

Kate Dewhurst - Program Coordinator

Kate has an academic background in International Development Studies and English Literature, and has worked as a teacher, pastor, manager and writer. She finds the common threads of social justice and community development woven through the many roles she has filled and is inspired by the ways church communities can become even more loving places of belonging and hope.  

Kate says:

I'm a pastor’s kid who has worked in pastoral ministry, and through the years, I've participated in many different Christian communities -- from Catholic to Anglican to Pentecostal to Mennonite/Mennonite Brethren and non-denominational churches and parishes. Within these environments, I've experienced the powerful ways God works in community to bring support, care, healing, wholeness and transformation. Also at times, through a lack of mental health awareness and understanding, I've witnessed further marginalization of persons living with mental health issues. A couple of years ago, I attended a Sanctuary seminar and was impacted by the stories of people with lived-experience and their insights into how churches and parishes could better support their recovery journeys. I wanted to be part of an organization that elevates these voices and their life-wisdom. 

Sue Nickel - Program Assistant

Sue is a retired pediatric nurse and clinical counsellor, and the author of 'Be Held', a daily reader for those living with clinical depression. She presently works as a Mental Health Advocate and Programming Assistant at Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries.

Sue says:

I grew up in a medical home and was a registered nurse myself but, even so, the stigma of mental illness prevented me from being honest with myself and those I loved. As a result, it was decades before I received appropriate treatment and got on the road to recovery. Part of the mandate of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries is about opening wide the conversation and education about mental illness and the welcome therein of those suffering from it. The subsequent hope and goal is a significant decrease in stigma. It is a privilege for me to be participating in this invaluable social and faith-based revolution. 

Jane Harris - Intern, Program Development 

Jane has been involved in ministry for over a decade, volunteering as a youth leader and Sunday school teacher at various churches, and spending six years on staff at the International House of Prayer. She has designed curriculum for several mission organizations, and is currently pursuing graduate theological studies with an emphasis on mental health and spirituality at Regent College.

Jane says:

The years I spent in pastoral ministry convinced me of the desperate need for mental health education within the church. Too often I saw hurting individuals offered counseling perspectives that neglected spirituality and theological perspectives that dismissed psychology. My search for integrative resources and ministry approaches ultimately led me to Sanctuary. Through the work of this organization I have received personal restoration and discovered an alternative ministry model that offers hope to people of faith experiencing mental health challenges.

Markku Kostamo - Senior Advisor

Markku and his wife Leah Co-founded A Rocha Canada. Along with their two daughters they live in community on Kingfisher Farm. Markku has over 30 years of leadership experience in the business and charitable sectors. Prior to working with A Rocha, Markku worked in the environmental sector as an ecologist.  Markku loves to help build and develop organizations. 

Markku says:

In July 2017, I went through a manic episode, was hospitalized, and was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder. With this lived experience, I’ve come to a real appreciation of others who struggle with mental illness. Sanctuary has been a welcoming and empowering place to land. I love how Sanctuary is resourcing the Church to serve those who struggle with mental illness.

Terresa Augustine, MA - Program Development, MHFA Instructor

Terresa has been guiding and coaching organizations, communities and individuals from present to preferred positions for 25+ years. She effectively guided Sanctuary through its start-up phase as Director of Operations and Programming. She continues to support Sanctuary by delivering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada that equips people to respond well to mental health matters in their life, community and/or workplace. In addition, she provides advice on mental health recovery in the community programming and assists churches to establish, implement and sustain mental health ministries. Beyond her work at Sanctuary, Terresa is an adviser with Canadian Executive Services Organization and a writer and publisher of fiction and non-fiction work focused on mental health.

Terresa says:

Why Sanctuary? Because mental health affects everyone, and I believe we need to have more open, honest and respectful conversations about mental health. When people are suffering or feeling alone they often turn to the church - even if they are not actively involved in the church. Equipping the church community to respond well to mental health problems or mental illness issues is a beautiful way to extends God's love, light and hope.
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