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Students line University Avenue to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week

By Communications Staff

Queen’s students lined University Avenue Wednesday in coloured t-shirts to raise awareness that one in four is affected by mental illness. Their aim was to get people talking about mental illness, help decrease stigma and ensure that people know where to go when they need help.

The event was part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which is being marked across Canada through the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health and coordinated locally by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The AMS's Peer Support Centre and Mental Health Awareness Committee organized students in groups of four – three in black shirts and one in neon green – to demonstrate the prevalence of mental health issues on campus.

"Mental health affects everyone – maybe it's you or maybe someone you know," says Rachael Quickert, outreach coordinator at the Peer Support Centre. "We are asking questions to get students talking and make sure they know where to go if they need help. We are also hoping to decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness."

The groups set up a booth in front of Stauffer Library for the afternoon. Speakers included Dr. Mike Condra, Director of Queen's Health, Counselling and Disability Services, who talked about the most common mental health problems on campus (depression, anxiety and eating disorders) and how to help a friend who may be in trouble.

"It is heartening to see this level of dedication among students to publicising mental health and mental illness," says Dr. Condra. "Events like this one have a significant impact and help to end the silence that often surrounds mental health problems."

For more information and resources about student health and wellness at Queen's, visit Student Affairs and the AMS Peer Support Centre.