Mental Health Promotion Week | Queen’s University Gazette
Mental Health Promotion Week features virtual events and initiatives to support mental health at Queen’s.
Queen’s University’s annual Mental Health Week is an opportunity to reflect on personal mental health and work towards building a community of care. Designed to surround Bell Let’s Talk Day (January 26), Mental Health Awareness Week aims to address the stigma associated with mental illness while raising awareness of the supports and resources available to students, staff and the teachers. The week-long event runs from January 24-28 with various initiatives aimed at increasing social connections and improving emotional, physical and mental health.
“Our goal is to highlight some of the incredible mental health promotion efforts at Queen’s, especially the work done by student leaders and student staff,” says Kate Humphrys, Health Promotion Coordinator, Student Wellness Services (SWS). “We hope this week will help keep the conversation going on this crucial topic throughout the year.
Post-secondary education can be a stressful time for students, especially with changes to learning formats and public health guidelines. As the university enters its third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health education and advocacy continues to be an important priority at Queen’s. Encouraging open, respectful and inclusive conversations, Mental Health Promotion Week is about feeling connected even in times of social distancing and remote learning.
“We know that mental health is essential to our overall well-being and sometimes we can focus on the self-care activities that help maintain good mental health, but other times it may not be enough,” says Beth Blackett, Special Health Promotion Projects, Student Welfare Services “When someone is struggling, they often need a community of care that can help them find the supports and resources they need. Mental Health Awareness Week helps highlight some of these supports and reminds everyone that it’s okay to talk about mental health, to reach out when we need help and , above all, to support each other.
Working to create an environment where everyone feels safe and accepted is paramount to ensuring everyone can achieve their full potential as healthy, resilient and inspired members of the Queen’s community. Recognizing the intersectionality between mental health and other areas of wellness, Student Wellness Services, along with various student-run groups and departments on campus, have created a number of virtual challenges, of events and workshops designed to stimulate discussion and social engagement.
Events and Initiatives
- This year, in collaboration with the Queen’s Student Mental Health Network, the Campus Wellness Project will announce candidates for Classroom Champions for Mental Health. Class Champions recognize teachers, instructors and teaching assistants who create learning environments where student mental health is valued and supported.
- Take part in the Get Active challenge by signing up for a virtual fitness class at ARC, hosted by Athletics and Recreation.
- Participate in the Rest & Relax Challenge by booking a peer wellness coaching session or healthy lifestyle professional appointment to learn strategies to improve sleep habits. Attend a workshop on how to create a personalized self-care plan by sharing evidence-based strategies for managing stress, or learn how to support someone in difficulty by signing up for an identify and respond seminar students in distress or in crisis. Find your safe space through trauma-informed writing exercises and guided mediation.
- Grab your paper and writing utensils and create beautiful affirmation art with Queen’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services. Connect with members of the LGBQT community by participating in Queer Survival Discussions, hosted in conjunction with Sexual Assault Center Kingston. Finding Your Joy Through Music encourages BIPOC students to come together and share their favorite songs from their playlist. Take a professionally led mindfulness session to visualize and promote positive personal growth.
- Visit the virtual photo booth available on Bell Let’s Talk Day and take part in a digital scavenger hunt focusing on BIPOC resources. Visit any of the various in-person locations on campus to pick up Bell merchandise, including toques and bubble wrap. Go online and download the Bell Let’s Talk Toolkit and see how you can support mental health more.
- Feed yourself by signing up and picking up a free fresh food box with all the key produce and ingredients needed to make a healthy meal, or check out the Food Access Resource website for more tips on where to find healthy, affordable food . Take part in Stories Spark Change with conversations with internationally acclaimed author Roxane Gay and bestselling author Eternity Martis about healing and sexual violence.
- Embrace nature by exploring the outdoors in the Get Outside challenge.
Learn more about the virtual events offered on campus on the Mental Health Promotion Week webpage. Events will continue to be added throughout the week.
Queen’s students can access support from the AMS Peer Support Center and the Student Wellness Services Mental Health Services website. Additional resources include Empower Me, a 24/7 phone service that connects students with qualified counselors, consultants, and life coaches for a variety of issues, and TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), an online, mobile-friendly library of wellness-promoting pathways.