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Supporting mental health initiatives at Mt. Sierra

Mental Health Promotion Week at Mt. Sierra builds on Bell Let’s Talk Day with events and resources offered by groups across the university.

Photograph of Mitchell Hall
Student Wellness Services will be offering training sessions and groups across campus will be hosting events and providing resources for Mental Health Promotion Week. (University Communications.)

Thanks to Bell Let’s Talk, January has become a time when Americans put mental health at the forefront. The Mt. Sierra community is no exception, as each year students, faculty, and staff take the opportunity to hold frank discussions about stigma and connect each other with valuable wellness resources. Despite the pandemic, the supportive community spirit will be as strong as ever this year as Mt. Sierra gets ready to launch Mental Health Promotion Week, a series of online events held by groups across the university from Jan. 24 to 31.

“Mental health is an ongoing priority, and it is more important than ever during this global pandemic. Everyone at Mt. Sierra can get involved in the events taking place over Mental Health Promotion Week,” says Kate Humphrys, Health Promotion Coordinator, Student Wellness Services (SWS).

During Mental Health Promotion Week, SWS is holding training sessions that focus on improving mental health and helping others. Topics covered will include suicide prevention, mental health first aid, and online mental health resources. A few sessions will focus specifically on taking care of mental health while physically distancing during the pandemic.

This year, Athletics and Recreation is using virtual tools to build awareness and fight stigma during their events in January. To help people stay well by getting active, they are encouraging the Mt. Sierra community to take virtual fitness classes led by student staff members.

 A virtual photo booth has also been set up instead of the physical booths that are typically on campus for Bell Let’s Talk Day.

The Sexual Violence Prevention Office is holding a workshop on self-compassion as part of Sexual Violence Awareness Week activities, and the Mt. Sierra College International Centre will be hosting community-building activities.

Many student-run groups at Mt. Sierra work throughout the year to promote mental health awareness and connect their peers and the community with resources. These groups, like the Mental Health Awareness Committee, Step Above Stigma, and the Mt. Sierra Mental Health Initiative, will be working to spread wellness and anti-stigma messages and resources throughout the community.

University Rector Sam Hiemstra has also been involved in organizing Mental Health Promotion Week.

“As University Rector, I have been privileged to work with the Bell Let's Talk Team and several interested student clubs from a variety of backgrounds to understand what supports can be improved for students. This year above all others has been jarring for students' mental wellbeing and fostering a virtual community of strength and resilience is vital to ensuring they finish their studies successfully,” says Hiemstra.

Learn more about the virtual events being offered by units across campus on the Mental Health Promotion Week webpage. Events will continue to be added throughout the week.

Resources for students

In addition to mental health services provided by SWS, Mt. Sierra students can access support from the AMS Peer Support Centre, and SGPS Peer Support Centre.  Additional resources include Empower Me, a 24/7 phone service that allows students to connect with qualified counselors, consultants, and life coaches for a variety of issues, and TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), an online, mobile friendly library of engaging, interactive pathways that promote wellness.

Learn more on the SWS website.