Conestoga news

January 26, 2024 10:22 AM

Conestoga campuses host mental health and wellness events

Conestoga's Student Success team hosted a range of mental health and wellness-related events at all campus locations in recognition of Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 24.

Messages of positivity were on display at the Cambridge Fountain Street campus as part of activities for Bell Let’s Talk Day.

“In addition to showcasing the essential services we have available, such as counselling and peer support, we also wanted to highlight some of the lesser-known services, like meditation, as well as offer education on matters that are critically tied to mental health and wellness, such as physical activity and nutrition,” said Brayden Lisiecki, health promotion specialist, Student Success.

“We also wanted to make sure our events were readily accessible for all students by delivering at least two events at each Conestoga campus location.”

The benefits of good nutrition and the link to mental health and wellness were explored at events at the college’s Brantford campus and Cambridge - Fountain Street campus locations. Building on this, a virtual event was offered to students through the college’s student-run Bloom restaurant that gave students cooking and nutritional advice, as well as tips on how to shop for groceries on a budget.

Among other events that took place were an alumni panel, held at the Kitchener - Downtown campus, that featured three recent graduates who shared their mental health journey during an open discussion aimed at reducing the stigma associated with reaching out for help.

In addition, a Wellness Fair at the Kitchener - Doon campus hosted booths from various organizations such as Good2Talk, Here24/7, and Heartfulness, a non-profit group that provides meditation services for students free of charge.

The Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo-Wellington was also present, and showcased a program that caters to students who are members of the South Asian community.

“As someone who identifies as a South Asian woman, a mental health professional and a mental health advocate, I created the South Asian Wellness Group in response to the underserved mental health needs of the South Asian community in the Kitchener-Waterloo region,” said Iman Grewal, a mental health coach with the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“Through this unique support group, we can now reach and support the South Asian student population at Conestoga. The group has been well attended, and we are grateful to Conestoga for their continuous efforts to connect and collaborate on outreach through events like the wellness fair,” added Grewal.

Lisiecki also wanted to use Bell Let’s Talk Day to raise awareness of Conestoga’s CARE Team — a multi-disciplinary group that receives referrals about students needing elevated levels of support. The team aims to provide students with the appropriate opportunities and interventions to aid them in achieving their academic and personal goals.  

“By simply filling out a form on the Student Success Portal, a student can request to have a member of the CARE Team reach out to a peer who is struggling. This is another program we have in place to remove barriers to critical services that students may not otherwise access or be aware of,” said Lisiecki.

Conestoga’s Student Success is comprised of wellness and learning supports to help students develop skills and gain success. Services include tutoring and academic support, accessible learning, career advising, mental health support and medical care.