Many students adjust to university life at their own pace, with some struggling to get into the swing of things early in the year. Thankfully, within the last couple of years, Brock University has taken a leap in mental health initiatives across campus such as the More Feet on the Ground campaign.
More Feet on the Ground is a three-year, province-wide campaign that aims to address the gaps in mental health information and services available to university students. As mental health and wellness statistics continue to rise, Brock has made significant strides to ensure that students are well-informed and supported.
The campaign, which was inspired by the powerful stigma that is attached to mental illness, hopes to help individuals understand this issue, as most of us will be touched by it directly in some way during our lives.
On Jan. 22, Personal Counselling Services, Student Health Services and the Student Development Centre, who have been promoting the campaign, hosted an interactive discussion about mental wellness. This event featured guest speakers who spoke about their own experiences with depression. Students were also invited to participate by asking questions and sharing their own thoughts about this issue.
The discussion led individuals to the campaign’s educational website, which provides students with free mental health training. This website was made possible through a partnership with the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) in hopes of raising awareness, helping students and decreasing stigma across campus.
Students who participate in the online interactive training will receive a certificate of completion, which can be submitted to ExperienceBU as credit towards their Campus Wide Co-Curriculum (CWC) transcript.
Kim Meade, Vice-provost and Associate Vicepresident, has been instrumental in pushing for the campaign when it started in 2012. Since then, Leslie McCurdy-Myers, Manager of Personal Counselling in the Student Development Centre, has been continuing the project.
“The goal of the online training is to increase the number of people in the Brock community who can recognize and respond appropriately when they believe someone is having a mental health problem,” said McCurdy-Myers. “This type of programming is also at the heart of the ‘both sides of the brain’ concept. It encourages the development of the whole person and changes in attitude that are made at this time in a person’s life are far reaching.”
Student-run clubs such as Active Minds, the Student Justice Centre, To Write Love on Her Arms, as well as the addition of Wellness Weeks and peer educators from Student Health Services, are just a few other resources on campus that are dedicated to supporting healthy mental wellness in the community.
“To name just a few things, last year 251 people gave an hour to take the Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) suicide prevention program and joined over 1,200 students, staff and faculty who have been trained to save a life over the last five years,” said McCurdy-Myers.
More Feet on the Ground is a partnership between Brock, Pathstone Mental Health, Niagara College and the Canadian Mental Health Association. The campaign is funded by the Ministry of Training, and Colleges and Universities’ Mental Health Innovation Fund.
Additional information, resources, quizzes and certification can be found at brock.morefeetontheground.ca