Conestoga news

January 5, 2024 7:56 PM

Peer Wellness Navigators share mental health experiences with fellow students

Conestoga students can hear first-hand from fellow students about their lived mental health experiences to gain solace and support.

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The Peer Wellness Navigator program connects students with lived experience and those seeking a more informal approach to their wellness needs.

The aim of the classroom presentations hosted by Student Health & Wellness and facilitated by Peer Wellness Navigators is to support student well-being and reduce stigma while sharing available resources both on campus and in the community.

“There’s such a value in peer support. They’ve been in their shoes, they’ve gone through their struggles and they can empathize with current students,” said Brayden Lisiecki, a health promotion specialist with Student Health & Wellness.

In-person presentations are offered at the college’s Kitchener - Doon and Kitchener - Downtown campuses and also through video to other Conestoga locations.

The 20-minute presentation includes a discussion on mental health literacy; promoting positive coping strategies such as time management, building connections and physical activity; ways to reduce stigma on campus around mental health; and encouraging help-seeking behaviours through on-campus and off-campus resource sharing.

The Peer Wellness Navigator program focuses on connecting students with lived experience and those seeking a more informal approach to their wellness needs. They work out of the Breathing Space locations at the two Kitchener campuses, which provide a calming space for students where they can access facilitated group activities, group drop-in sessions and one-on-one discussions.

Along with Peer Wellness Navigators and the Breathing Space, Conestoga’s Student Health & Wellness department offers a variety of supports to foster well-being. Counselling services are offered free to Conestoga students in person, virtually or by telephone. Students can also reach out to Good2Talk, which provides free, confidential support services for post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia by phone or text, or 988, the new national suicide crisis helpline.

Student Health & Wellness will also support college-wide activities in recognition of Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 24. The annual campaign promotes mental health awareness, acceptance and action. Conestoga campuses will mark the day with a variety of activities related to wellness, such as a resource fair at the Doon campus and salsa lessons in Waterloo.

Visit the Student Success Portal for more information and the How to Ask for Help guide for additional tools.

The Peer Wellness Navigator program is part of a student success ecosystem at Conestoga that includes wellness and learning supports such as tutoring, accessible learning, career advising, mental health support and medical care.