Although Bell Let’s Talk has passed, Brock University Students’ Union is not ready to end the conversation about mental health and mental illness. The students’ union has arranged for Brock to partner with #mydefinition to introduce the campaign to the campus.
#Mydefinition is a campaign that was originally started by the Student Union at the University of New Brunswick as a way to make the campus more comforting for students struggling with their mental health.
The campaign rallies together individuals dealing with their mental health struggles and creates posters about their lives. The posters have information about each candidate, what mental illness or health issue they have and then the tagline: ‘My mental health is a part of me, but it does not define me.’ The first #mydefinition poster campaign was in August 2014 at the UNIB and St. Thomas University.
Since then, the campaign has been adopted by associations such as KV Oasis Youth Center, Trent Durham Student Association, Canadian Mental Health Association, Algoma University, and now BUSU.
The Students’ Union decided to get involved with the #mydefinition campaign after speaking to the campus representative for Student VIP and Blue Cross.
The Students’ Union is hoping to get as many applicants for the campaign as possible so that when the #mydefinition campaign can vet the applicants.
“Ideally, we are going to try to get a wide range of candidates on this,” said Hibma, Vice-President, Finance and Administration. Everyone is welcome: staff, faculty, students, athletes, all departments.
After #mydefiniton selects the candidates the Union will be in charge of creating the graphics for the posters. Hibma mentioned that the Union wants Brock’s posters to be a little different than the posters from previous campaigns.
Instead of striking out the mental illnesses, they intend on putting them in red in order to highlight them. Hibma believes that striking out the mental illnesses diminishes the impact they have on individuals’ lives. They also want to highlight the difference between mental health and mental illness.
In order to ensure the campaign is as effective as possible, Brock University Students’ Union intends on having a launch for the campaign. Hibma envisions having the reveal in Market Place at a busy time. He says there will be finger food, large versions of the posters, and hopefully all of the participants will be at the event, so they can mingle with those who attend the unveiling. If all goes according to plan the unveil will be at the end of March or the beginning of April, “so that in the midst of a very stressful time of the year there’s another reassurance and a resurge of mental health awareness,” Hibma said.
“I think it creates a much more personal rapport on our campus in comparison to Bell Let’s Talk, which is great but it just in my opinion, it’s very corporatized in the sense that we do it for the one day, everyone gets behind it and then it’s done you don’t see it on campus anymore. Whereas with this we are hoping to do on a year to year basis, said Hibma.
Each year a new set of candidates will be selected. The hope is that in the future the unveiling will be in January so that the posters can be up for majority of the year.
Those interested in applying to be a part of this year’s campaign can email firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, school, contact information, and a sample of their definitions.