There’s an important conversation ready to be had this week.
Across campus and across the country, the topic of mental health will be in the spotlight Wednesday, Jan. 25 during Bell Let’s Talk Day.
During the one-day annual initiative, Bell donates five cents towards mental health-related causes in Canada for every time someone uses its network to text, call, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook video view and Snapchat geofilter.
Proceeds go to organizations and charities that apply and are awarded grant money from the Bell Community Fund to enhance mental health initiatives.
Brock has been a past recipient of the fund, using the money to support an online mental health training module for students. The University plans to again apply for a grant in 2017, said Kathryn Walker, Brock’s Manager of Health Management and Wellness.
“It is understood that mental health conditions are on the rise and one in five Canadians will suffer from a mental health-related condition in their lifetime,” said Walker. “This impacts quality of life both inside and outside of the workplace.”
Human Resources undertakes initiatives and programming to ensure that supports and resources are in place for staff and faculty to address this increasing concern, she said.
The wellness portion of Brock’s SharePoint intranet includes many resources that staff and faculty are encouraged to review, as well as monthly newsletters from Shepell, the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP).
Human Resources also develops a Wellness Calendar each month that highlights events and initiatives taking place on campus and in the broader community.
A number of mental health-focused initiatives are being planned for Brock staff and faculty throughout the year.
Similarly, the Brock University Students’ Union is taking a proactive approach to student wellness on campus.
BUSU is transforming its former once annual Wellness Week into Wellness Wednesdays, to be held every other week during Fall and Winter terms.
Jad Nasser, BUSU’s Vice-President of Student Services, said the late November timing of Wellness Week meant many students didn’t have time to participate because of final assignments and upcoming exams. The decision was made to break up the wellness days to provide continuous and ongoing support of mental health and student wellness throughout the year.
Activities, run by BUSU with assistance from the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre, will include free breakfast, cocktails and canvas, colouring books, free massages, manicures, a puppy room and yoga, among others.
The first Wednesday event will take place Jan. 25 in conjunction with Bell Let’s Talk Day.
Student activities for Bell Let’s Talk Day
Wednesday, Jan. 25:
Free breakfast at Isaac’s Bar & Grill: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Sponsored by BUSU and Alumni.
‘Speak Up’ speech bubbles and pledge: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Scotiabank Hall, Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, Advocacy Hub in Mackenzie Chown Complex A hallway, Lowenberger Residence cafeteria and DeCew Residence cafeteria.
Wellness Wednesday Yoga: 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. in CJ’s Lounge, DeCew Residence.
Puppy room: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Kenmore Centre.
Coffee Lounge: 1 to 3 p.m. in the Student Justice Centre.
Upcoming activities for staff and faculty
Women and Wellness event, hosted by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Niagara
Thursday, Feb. 16, 6 to 9 p.m. at Club Roma, 125 Vansickle Dr., St. Catharines
Proceeds from the event, which aims to educate guests on mental health and mental illness, support the walk-in counselling program offered by CMHA Niagara.
For more information on the event, visit the CMHA Niagara website.
Mental health first aid training for staff and faculty on April 10 and 11.
The two-day program, developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, builds on participants’ existing skills to increase comfort and confidence in working with individuals experiencing mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, deliberate self-harm and/or psychosis.
To register, visit the Focus on Learning site.
Mental Health Week is scheduled from May 1 to 7 and plans are in place to build on last year’s activities, which included a free yoga session, art therapy, a seminar on understanding depressive illness and a fundraising barbecue for CMHA Niagara.
More details will be released as plans are finalized.