Last week the St.Thomas campus put on seven days worth of stress busting and awareness activities as part of what the Student Union called Mental Health Awareness Week.
Brianna Matchett, the St.Thomas Student Union Vice President of Student Life, was the one who spear headed the week of events. She said it’s something that everyone can relate to in one way or another.
“This week is important because everyone deals with mental health, whether it’s a friend or a family member,” she said, ” We are all somewhere on this continuum, we all have the ability to be in crisis.”
The week started out with some stress busting activities, a dance class was held by some of the members of the dance team at the University of New Brunswick, as well as a yoga session.
A educational fair was set up in James Dunn Hall where students could go and learn about the resources that are available to them, such as student counselling at both STU and UNB, CHIMO, which is a crisis hotline, and a Mobile Crisis Unit in Fredericton.
Bell Let’s Talk fell in the middle of the week, The program is designed to break the silence around mental illness and support initiatives across Canada. The Student Union put their own twist on it with the name STU Let’s Talk, running a Twitter contest for the most retweeted picture, video, and tweet of the day using the hashtag STULet’s Talk.
One of the bigger events of the week was the Songs and Stories Coffeehouse. This gave students the opportunity to come out and either sing a song, or tell a personal story about dealing with mental illness.
The week wrapped up with a Body Positivity Talk, covering such topics as eating disorders and self esteem. Given by STU’s Positive Mental Health Champion, Kelly Humber Kelly. She says it’s a week that works in bringing everyone together for a good cause.
“For those people who may be struggling with mental illness who feel like they can’t really talk, feel they don’t have a voice this is the week they feel they can be open about it”, she said, “It’s because so many other people are being open about it.”
Aside from the talk, Humber Kelly has organized a series of self care workshops for February, being held every Monday at 7 p.m. With stress busting activities like a free art class.
The Fredericton Police were on campus showing their support for STULet’sTalk, as they partnered with some of the students from a Criminology class, taking part in some of the days events.
Bell Let’s Talk raised a record breaking 6.2 million dollars this year for Canadian mental health programs.