Mental health is important for so many reasons. There are various national campaigns that focus on raising awareness about mental health and recognizing those with mental illnesses, such as Bell Let’s Talk Day, because most people will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lifetime.
This year, the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre and Active Minds have partnered to host a mental health awareness event — Be Well: BU – Mental Health Night —which will be happening on March 20 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in Pond Inlet.
“The purpose of the event is to open up the conversation about mental health among students and the community, as well as give people the opportunity to reach out to and learn about available mental health resources,” said Michelle Balge, President of Active Minds. “This event was previously called ‘Speak Out Night’ and it has actually been running for years at Brock, but this year we have completely revamped it to make this a more engaging experience [for the Brock community].”
According to Balge, the night will begin with four student speakers sharing their personal experiences regarding mental health and illness, two of which will be Active Minds members Meghan Kidnie and Kate McDonald.
“The voices of students [who have] lived experiences are the most important voices,” said Sarah Penninsi, the Director of the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre. “It is a very courageous and generous thing that students speakers will be doing. Their sharing of personal stories will allow us as a community to reflect, respect and learn from these experiences so that we may improve how we support mental health.”
Following the student speakers’ presentations, the event will also feature a mindfulness workshop with Professor Paula Gardner, who teaches mindfulness in the classroom and is currently studying mental health through her research with The Mindfulness Project, and author Darcy Patrick, who wrote a self-published book titled Why I Run, My Story of How I Own My Life Back from the Darkness of Depression.
“Mindfulness,” as Penninsi explained, “can be an effective strategy for maintaining mental wellness.”
Students will have the opportunity to try different mindfulness activities and strategies while in a safe space at the event.
In addition to the student speakers and the mindfulness workshop, the event will also feature a resource fair which will present students with the opportunity to learn about, and reach out to, the local and on-campus services provided to those suffering from mental health illnesses.
“Talking about mental health should be an everyday thing, and people should not be afraid to reach out for help,” said Balge. “I hope that this night encourages students and the community to make their mental health a priority.”
“Be well BU is just as it sounds, we want wellness across Brock University and we want people to be who they are, free from judgement. Be your authentic ‘you’.”
The event is free for all Brock students, faculty and staff to attend. To learn more, visit the Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/757081547791987/