With undeniably challenging times underway, a new campaign has been launched to reduce distress and increase resilience among all members of the Brock community.
Led by a group of third-year Public Health students through a program called Cope Care Connect, the campaign asks people to reflect on their own personal values and inspire small positive changes by making pledges to help make each day become better than the one before.
“Our truly amazing Public Health students are asking individuals to make non-monetary pledges to improve their own circumstances and help the people around them,” says Department of Health Sciences Associate Professor Kelli-an Lawrance, who is overseeing the student-led initiative. “Sometimes we get stuck in emotionally painful ruts. By becoming aware of this, reflecting on our own personal values and then making a commitment to action, we can shift our own mental and physical health.”
Originally piloted in September, the program was relaunched last month in an online format with the goal of helping individuals feel good about themselves and make connections. The relaunch was taken on by 40 Public Health students enrolled in the third-year Health Campaigns in Action class.
“Resilience can mean different things to different people,” says Lawrance. “Generally, it is understood as the ability to bounce back from adversity, but the working definition we are using encompasses anything from not getting a good grade to moving away from family to major life traumas like a death in the family or unbearable pressure to succeed.”
Cope Care Connect helps build resilience by supporting healthy coping skills, caring communities and strong social connections at Brock. It operates in partnership with Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre and Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.
“Working with students to help them bounce back from the day-to-day little challenges in life to the bigger things that threaten who they are is very rewarding,” says Master of Applied Health Sciences student Meghan Robinson (BPH ’18), who is studying the pledge aspects of the Cope Care Connect program as part of her graduate studies in Community Health.
Robinson’s role in the initiative is to study the attributes of individuals who are interacting with the Cope Care Connect program as well as who is making pledges and what kinds of commitments they are making.
“The types of pledges the program offers were developed by Public Health students based on what they identify with,” says Robinson. “They don’t just want to be told how to cope with their problems, they want to make connections and be able to care for others too, especially during COVID-19.”
As part of their coursework, Public Health students have developed online resources in the form of videos, podcasts and newsletters. They are doing outreach and raising awareness through social marketing campaigns with the goal of inspiring the Brock community to access the program website to make pledges to commit to a small behaviour change in line with three tenants of Cope Care Connect.
“We know one little pledge can’t change the world but if everyone makes a pledge or a positive affirmation, it can change your day,” says Robinson. “At Cope Care Connect we do not look at life as a glass half full or half empty, we simply see people with cups they can choose how to fill.”
The online Cope Care Connect campaign will run until Sunday, March 21. Members of the Brock community are encouraged to visit the Cope Care Connect website to make one of nine different health pledges ranging from enhancing your ability to cope with stress to caring for and connecting with friends, classmates and peers in ways that help individuals feel less stressed, healthier and more connected.
For more information please contact Lawrance at firstname.lastname@example.org