A fresh perspective on mental health

A fresh perspective on mental health

By Anne Craig

October 3, 2014


A new group at Queen’s University is working to become one of the faces of mental health on campus. A team of 24 second and third-year male students have a plan to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use – specifically in young men.

Utilizing a grant from Movember Canada, the group met for the first time in early September to create a plan of action. Four groups emerged from the weekend summit:  an events team, a team creating a safe, online chat space, a policy group and a group focused on social media.

Akash Pasricha (l) and Josh Decaire discuss the caring campus project.

“I really wasn’t sure what to expect,” says Akash Pasricha (Artsci ’17), who is working on the policy development team, “but so many ideas came out of the summit. It was a chance to talk about the problems, establish a process and develop a list of goals. I want to raise awareness and I want to make a change.”

Research assistant Josh Decaire, who is working with Drs. Heather Stuart, Shu-Ping Chen (both Public Health Sciences),and Terry Krupa (School of Rehabilitation Therapy), is also working with the team on the project and says it was encouraging to see a group of males talking about mental health and substance use.

The program is unique across Canadian universities and Dalhousie and Calgary Universities are working closely with Queen’s on the project.

“The ‘guy mentality’ is a huge roadblock,” says Mr. Pasricha. “Guys just don’t talk about mental health, especially when it ties in with substance abuse. We just don’t talk about it, but we need to. This group of 24 includes varsity athletes, arts students, engineering students and many other faculties. It’s important to work together, to work towards change.”

The groups are continuing to meet and new ideas, events and policies are planned for public announcement in the next few months.