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January 17, 2020 4:53 PM

Student services to shine light on mental health

Conestoga will join the more than 220 colleges and universities across Canada taking action to create positive change in mental health as part of the Bell Let’s Talk post-secondary campaign. 

Now in its tenth year, the Bell Let’s Talk initiative encourages open discussion about mental health in Canada in an effort to help end the stigma that surrounds it and offer new ideas and hope for those who struggle. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, it is estimated that one in five Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life, with 75 per cent of those first diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 24.   

“This year’s post-secondary mental health campaign will reach more than 1.7 million students on campuses across the country,” said Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “As we celebrate our tenth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, we congratulate students for their leadership in taking action to build psychologically safe and healthy campus environments.”

The post-secondary campaign evolved from a student-athlete initiative at Atlantic Canada universities in 2016 to now reach students at post-secondary institutions in every province and territory. The campaign includes varsity and collegiate athletic games and a wide variety of events from information kiosks to open houses and conferences. 

At Conestoga, student services across the college have collaborated to encourage the Conestoga community to join the mental health conversation. Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI), Student Engagement, Athletics & Recreation and Student Success Services will sponsor activities leading up to Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 29.

“We’re committed to creating a campus environment that supports mental health and well-being,” said Gina Alderman, communications and events coordinator for Student Success Services. “Bell Let’s Talk Day provides an opportunity to highlight services at Conestoga and encourage the college community to be in tune with their mental well-being.”

Activities will include a double-header varsity volleyball event on January 22, a facilitated discussion about mental health with the college’s on-campus peer support navigator on January 28, and information tables on January 29 across Conestoga campuses to encourage the college community to show support for mental health awareness and to learn about services available through the college.

On January 29, for every text, mobile and long-distance call made on the Bell network; tweet using #BellLetsTalk; social media video view; or use of the Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, Bell will contribute five cents to mental health programs. Since the inception of the initiative, more than $100 million has been committed to Canadian mental health programs at institutions and organizations in every region of the country to fund access, care and research.  

To learn more about mental health and well-being supports and services at the college, including counselling, peer support, wellness spaces and advisors, visit Student Success Services

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