Photo By: Dustin Belt from Unsplash

Students from Brock’s health sciences department have launched a mental health initiative centered around building resilience and helping students deal with academic and personal stressors in their lives.

The initiative, known as COPE • CARE • CONNECT (CCC), is supported by the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, as well as the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre at Brock. CCC provides a collection of mental health resources that are designed to help foster a positive culture towards mental health care on campus. 

Additionally, students who participate in the initiative are able to make a two-week commitment to any of a series of pledges focused on mental health wellness.

“The purpose of students taking pledges is mainly for their own personal accountability, but also as a way to boost their self-esteem and promote healthy interactions. These pledges range from writing a positive thing about themselves once a day, to not posting altered pictures on social media,” said Roxanne Wallace, a fourth-year public health student. “There’s also links to tons of Brock-centric resources on the website, so it’s kind of like a one-stop site for students to get the mental health support they need.” 

Wallace’s campaign focuses primarily on limiting “phubbing” which is also targeted in the CCC initiative. Coined as part of a linguistics experiment in 2012, the term “phubbing” refers to the act of tuning out in-person conversation in order to check a smartphone. CCC seeks to combat this phenomenon through intentionally designed pledges that encourage participants to limit smartphone use during face-to-face interaction daily. 

Through her campaign, Wallace is hopeful that Brock students will be encouraged to cultivate positive techniques for managing their mental health, and more awareness will be raised about the variety of mental support services available on campus and throughout the Niagara Region. 

“One of the most important benefits of the campaign and the initiative, in my opinion, is that students are made aware that there are services available to help them, since many times [they] are unaware that those resources even exist,” said Wallace. “I’ve even taken one of the pledges myself, followed up with it for a few weeks and found that it really helped me in my everyday life.”

When submitting pledges, students will also have the ability to participate in an anonymous study that is examining whether or not the pledges have had a positive effect on the Brock community. Data from this study will be utilized to improve pledge selection and make participation in the initiative a more enjoyable experience in the future.

“[The study is] not detailed for public information. It’s more so for us to understand the demographic we’re dealing with so we can follow up and see what’s actually going on at Brock and what students are actually experiencing,” said Wallace. “From that, we can better narrow down what areas specifically we should target with the pledges.”

In addition to the pledges and resources provided on the website, the CCC initiative includes a YouTube channel that posts videos with tips for maintaining good mental health habits. The initiative’s coordinators also host a mental wellness podcast, which is posted on the channel periodically.

Students who desire to find out more information or who are interested in taking a pledge in the CCC initiatives are encouraged to visit their website. Questions about the initiative can be directed to Dr. Kelli-Ann Lawrance, Associate Professor of Health Sciences at Brock and overseer of the initiative, via email at [email protected].