UNB Saint John promotes mental health through campus activities

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Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.07.10 PMWith the winter months, lack of daylight, and ungodly amount of school work already upon us, the need to take care of one’s inner selves is more important than ever.

This week is Mental Health awareness week and there is plenty going on at UNB Saint John to support the cause.

In 2012 Statistics Canada reported that approximately 2.8 million people, or 10.1% of Canadians aged 15 and older, reported symptoms consistent with at least one of six mental or substance use disorders in the past 12 months.

“Having a mental illness does not make you crazy or less of a human. It just makes things a little different and we need more people to accept and stand (up) to break the negative stigma” says SRC vice president student affairs, Kjeld Conyers-Steede.

On Wednesday the Here4U Peer Support Leaders and other student volunteers are hosting a text-a-thon to raise money for mental health during #BellLetsTalk day.

Since 2010 Bell has committed to over $100 million to mental health and for every tweet (using #BellLetsTalk), Facebook image share, mobile & long distance call, and text message (turn off iMessage) sent on Wednesday, Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives across Canada.

Also on Wednesday, the SRC and Healthy Minds Matter student group will host an event at Howler’s Bar from 12:30pm- 4:30pm to watch the Bell Let’s Talk live stream. The invitation is open to the campus community to come hangout with friends and have some refreshments and support the very worthy fundraising efforts.

On Thursday, Meredith Henry, UNB Saint John Counsellor, will be hosting a L.I.F.E. Series talk: Let’s Talk Mental Health at 1 pm in OH G31. Talking about staying mentally healthy, recognizing mental illness and supporting those who are ill, and how to break down the stigma around mental health.

With #BellLetsTalk day, Tim Hortons Here4U Peer Supports Leaders, SRC & Healthy Minds Matter, and the L.I.F.E Series talk there is lots to get involved with to help stand up to something that affects so many all over the world, and stay strong throughout the rest of the semester.

Here4U support offered to students in need

In addition the activities being run this week with support from the HERE4U peer support team, students can visit them any time to talk about their issues and seek advice.

The mandate of the peer support program is to “support, connect and interact with students who might need a little extra support or a safe place to go to talk to someone,” says Natalie Pequin, a peer support leader.

“We’re available for anything from major mental health issues to students just being really stressed out and needing to vent.”

Students can use the support team to be referred to someone for a more serious issue.

The peer support program was born out of necessity, with mental health becoming a growing issue among young people in University. The program helps to support the small staffing of counsellors in UNB Saint John’s student services department, and so the program works to offer immediate support and assurance to those students suffering from issues if they are unable to get in to see the school counsellors right away.

The leaders are trained and all know the process for dealing with different situations that someone may be facing.

“We are a group of 4 leaders who are all trained in mental health first aid,” says Pequin.

The drop-in hours are daily, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10-12 and Wednesday and Friday’s from 2:30-4:30.

Students can drop by the office of HERE4U located in the Student Centre on the second floor. The team is also accessible on social media by tweeting @unbpeersupport and finding them on facebook by searching UNBSJ HERE4U.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.