Creating a supportive culture about mental health on our campus
In March we are offering the first in a new series of mental health workshops for students, called The Inquiring Mind. Sessions will run monthly until May, and it’s just the beginning of a much larger mental health campaign on campus. Stay tuned.
Looking back, I was a mess during my first degree. I struggled to get by and even when things weren’t feeling so great anymore, I didn’t ask for help. Over the years, I learned coping strategies and how to find help when I needed it. But it took a while. So did realizing that it’s okay—and common—to have mental health concerns.
I’m a nurse now, so I often compare mental health to having the flu. If you had the flu you wouldn't be embarrassed about having it or needing to take a sick day, but many of us seem to think that mental health is different than our physical health. It's not.
That’s why I’m really looking forward to spending a morning or afternoon working with students —sharing information about mental health, talking about how to prepare for the times when things don't go so well, learning how to identify symptoms in ourselves and others, looking at coping strategies like deep breathing and setting smart goals, and learning about resources that can help.
I know how busy students are, but I really hope that they take the time to come to these workshops. The skills we’re building in these three hours can be used for the rest of your life—to help yourself and the people you care about.
It’s part of creating a supportive culture about mental health on our campus. It’s about having open conversations. It’s about moving beyond awareness about mental health, and taking action to make things better for everyone.
—Sydney Bennell, RN, Student Wellness Coach
Sydney is one of MacEwan’s facilitators for The Inquiring Mind.
This story is part of Changing Minds: Creating a healthy campus – an initiative that makes mental health a priority. The program connects training opportunities, support services, resources and stories from real people across the MacEwan University community.