Brock University is joining organizations across Canada in recognizing Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday, Jan. 26 with a week of workshops and initiatives focused on raising awareness about mental health and wellness.
As a leader in campus mental health — ranking first among all comprehensive universities in Canada for mental health supports in the annual Maclean’s University Rankings for the fourth-consecutive year — Brock is encouraging its students, staff and faculty to participate in the many planned activities dedicated to growing the community’s collective knowledge about mental health and demonstrating how to support students, colleagues and others with their mental health struggles.
Beginning Monday, Jan. 24, Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) is hosting a series of online workshops open to all Brock students:
- SWAC’s Sleep Secrets will discuss topics surrounding sleep hygiene, sleep cycles, napping and sleep disturbances and how a good night’s sleep helps maintain positive mental health. The workshop takes place Monday, Jan. 24 from 6 to 7 p.m.
- Koru Mindfulness will feature evidence-based mindfulness curriculum designed for university-aged adults. The workshop takes place Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 6 to 7 p.m.
- Building Strong Relationships will teach students how to create more effective relationships. The workshop takes place Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
- Reach Out will outline five important steps to consider when reaching out to someone you’re concerned about. The workshop takes place Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 3 to 4 p.m.
- The Body Project will confront unrealistic beauty ideals and help students develop a healthy body image. The workshop takes place Thursday, Jan. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m.
SWAC has also partnered with Brock Sports and the Brock Badgers to create a series of wellness workshops designed specifically for student-athletes. Topics include recognizing signs of stress; yoga practice, mindfulness and meditation practice; student-athlete sleep; reaching out to a friend you’re concerned about; and online peer support drop-in. Events are listed on ExperienceBU.
On Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday, Jan. 26, SWAC is hosting an online Peer-to-Peer HUB, where students can connect with Peer Wellness staff and fellow Brock students in a safe space to talk about stress or anxiety surrounding student life, mental health support, sexual health, substance abuse or other wellness and accessibility services offered to students. Students can log on anytime between noon and 6 p.m.
Also on Wednesday, Jan. 26, the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) is hosting a free mental health talk and virtual Q&A session with Canadian sprinter and six-time Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse. De Grasse will speak about mental health and how to overcome adversities at any stage in life. The event takes place at 7 p.m. and is open to all Brock students. Registration is required through the BUSU website.
Brock’s Alumni Relations team will be distributing 400 cookies called Badger Grams with messages of support and encouragement from graduates. Students living in residence can pick up the treats in Guernsey Market on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Residence students in isolation can expect a cookie sent to their room. The cookies will be provided by Boxed Cookies, a Brock alumni-owned business and supporter of Brock’s Student Mental Health Fund. For every box of cookies ordered this week, Boxed Cookies will donate $1 to the fund.
Residence staff members will be giving out Bell Let’s Talk toques, lanyards and stickers on Bell Let’s Talk Day and will encourage student passersby to write positive affirmations on word bubbles that will be displayed near residence dining halls. Residence students are also invited to play Bell Let’s Talk Day self-care bingo, with a goal of completing one line within a one-week period. Students are asked to upload a photo of their card to the Residence Teams Channel to receive an entry into a draw to win one of two $100 gift cards provided by Residence Life and Student Affairs.
Free Bell Let’s Talk toques will also be given to anyone who makes an online purchase from the Campus Store between Monday, Jan. 24 and Friday, Jan. 28 (while supplies last). The Campus Store is also providing SWAC postcards with each purchase and will be donating 10 per cent of net proceeds of all purchases made between Monday, Jan. 24 and Friday, Jan. 28 to the Brock Student Mental Health Fund.
Anyone interested in making a personal donation to the Brock Student Mental Health Fund can donate online via brocku.ca/donate (select ‘Student Mental Health’ under the gift designation dropdown).
In an effort to help improve the mental health of Brock’s employees, faculty and staff are encouraged to send a note of appreciation, acknowledgement or encouragement to colleagues through the Be Mindful online platform anytime this week. The online campaign is a collaboration between Brock’s Health Management and Wellness team and the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving team to spread positivity, promote mental health and well-being, and make kindness the norm at Brock.
Employees interested in learning more about working with students and youth experiencing mental health problems are invited to register for an upcoming two-day workshop on Mental Health First Aid – Youth. Additional employee wellness events are listed on Focus on Learning.
Brock’s Health Management and Wellness team offers tips to talk about mental illness, show support and help people who are facing mental health challenges seek help:
- Be kind — Small acts of kindness make a big difference.
- Educate yourself — Learn about and talk more about the signs of mental illness.
- Language matters — Pay attention to the words you use about mental health and illness.
- Listen and ask — Sometimes, it’s best to just listen.
- Talk about it — Start a dialogue and break the silence.
Several departments across the University will be using social media throughout the week to promote mental health and wellness information and resources. Brock Dining Services, for example, plans to post about gut health and its relation to mental health. Recreation Services will be promoting the #MoveForYourMood campaign and asking students, faculty and staff to share photos of how they move to be featured on the Recreation Services Instagram story.
Recreation Services continues to host online fitness programming as part of its monthly offerings, which include classes such as yoga, self-defence and Zumba. For students looking to connect with a fitness community, Fitness with Friends is an opportunity for students to support one another in their health and wellness journey.
As part of the Brock Library’s ongoing commitment to supporting wellness at Brock, the department offers free Library Yoga sessions each term, including a live online yoga session on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Recordings of the 30-minute online Library Yoga sessions, as well as Library Yoga ‘shorts’ of two to five minutes in length, are available to the public on the Brock University Library’s YouTube channel. Many additional library resources, such as reading lists, board games, therapy lamps and more, are listed on the Wellness at the Library web page.
On Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday, Jan. 26, Bell will donate five cents towards mental health programs for every tweet or TikTok video using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag as well as every text, phone call, social media video view and use of Bell’s Facebook frame or Snapchat lens.
Student mental health resources
Students seeking mental health and personal counselling support can access professional licensed counsellors 24-7 through the ‘My Student Support Program (My SPP)’ mobile app. Free and confidential real-time text chat and telephone support is available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese (simplified Chinese via chat).
In addition to live and immediate support, the app also offers an extensive library of mental health and well-being resources, including articles, podcasts, infographics and videos; unlimited free access to the virtual fitness app LIFT; and anonymous evidence-based self-assessments that can help students identify risks for mental health issues such as depression, general anxiety and addiction.
Employee mental health resources
Brock University employees have free and confidential access to mental health and wellness supports through the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider LifeWorks. All Brock faculty and staff and their immediate family members can access EFAP support services 24-7 by calling 1-844-880-9137.
The LifeWorks wellness website and mobile app are also available to all current Brock University employees. Staff and faculty can sign up at brockuniversity.lifeworks.com using a unique invitation code included in an email received from LifeWorks to their Brock email in April 2021. Once registered and logged in, employees can invite up to five family members to join the LifeWorks platform. The LifeWorks mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
LifeWorks offers articles, podcasts and videos on a variety of topics; financial, mental, physical and social well-being self-assessments; automated fitness journeys and live chat access to coaches through the LIFT session app; and exclusive discounts and special offers called ‘perks.’
The LifeWorks platform also features several free online self-guided well-being programs. The ‘CareNow’ programs are based on cognitive-behavioural therapy and include techniques and strategies employees can use to become and stay healthy. CareNow programs include achieving financial well-being, anxiety, communication, coping, depression, grief, mindfulness, separation/divorce, stress, substance abuse, tobacco and nicotine cessation, and work-life balance.
Additional EFAP information can be found on the Health Safety and Wellness Toolbox on SharePoint.
Questions about EFAP or the LifeWorks platform — including resources, programs and employee login information — can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Community mental health resources for students and employees
Therapist-guided cognitive-behavioural therapy sessions are available for free to all Ontario residents through Mind Beacon, thanks to funding from the Ontario government. The website also offers a wide range of articles and virtual events related to mental wellness.
Mental health supports and resources are also available through:
- Access Line Niagara
- Canadian Mental Health Association Niagara
- Canadian Red Cross Friendly Calls program
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- Community Addiction Services of Niagara
- Distress Centre Niagara
- Good2Talk provides confidential support services for post-secondary students
- Kids Help Phone
- Niagara Holistic Wellness Portal
- Niagara Regional Police Service Crisis Outreach and Support Team
- Wellness Together Canada
Health-related concerns, including advice regarding COVID-19, can be sought through Telehealth Ontario by calling 1-866-797-0000.
Brock University Campus Security Services can be reached by calling 905-688-5550 x3200 (crisis) or x4300 (non-crisis).