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Let’s talk mental health

Campus events to celebrate annual mental health awareness day.

[Student-athletes help mark Bell Let's Talk Day]
A number of events will be held on campus in the lead up to and on Bell Let's Talk day, Wednesday, Jan. 30. (University Communications)

Leading up to Bell Let’s Talk day on Jan. 30, Queen’s students, staff, and faculty will engage in a variety of events aimed at continuing a campus-wide conversation on mental health.

“It is important to continue the conversation because people who have mental illnesses still experience stigma,” says Heather Stuart, Queen’s Professor and Bell Chair in Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research. “We need to have all Canadians part of the dialogue to find solutions, and that includes students and staff right here at Queen’s.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Dr. Stuart will facilitate Let’s Talk Mental Health – an open conversation with students about mental health on campus. Held in the Rose Innovation Hub at the newly-opened Mitchell Hall, the free session will provide space for participants to share their own experiences with mental health, and hear about the latest in mental health research.

The Queen’s Gaels will also host #BellLetsTalk games to promote mental health awareness on Saturday, Jan. 26. The women’s and men’s volleyball and basketball teams as well as the men’s hockey team will dedicate the day’s game to the cause, encouraging fans to wear complimentary, blue Bell Let’s Talk toques to show their support. Mental health awareness volunteers will be on hand, and there will be a mental health banner for fans to sign, and special in-game promotions and contests.

On Bell Let’s Talk day, booths will be set up in both the Mitchell Hall atrium and the Queen’s Centre to share information about mental health resources on campus, including tips on how to care for your own mental health, as well as swag giveaways and a photobooth. Running from 11 am to 2 pm, the booths are a collaboration between Queen’s Health Promotion and its Peer Health Educators, Athletics and Recreation’s Get Your 150 Ambassadors, the Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, and the Mental Health Awareness Committee.

Queen’s Residence Life will be hosting a Bell Let’s Talk booth event at Leonard Dining Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 11:30 am to 2 pm. There will be variety of resources available for students, including opportunities to connect with the campus’ registered dietitian from Hospitality Services to discuss mental health and nutrition, as well as with Peer Health Educators to gain tips on increasing your overall well-being. In the evening, Residence Life will also host a film viewing and open discussion on mental health at Victoria Hall A011 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm – open to students living in residence.

“We have made significant progress in creating awareness, but we still have a way to go with respect to social equity,” says Dr. Stuart. “People who have mental illnesses still face social barriers and we need to continue our work to eliminate these.”

Students interested in mental health information and services can visit the Student Wellness Services website, and staff can find more information about related programs on the Human Resources page.

From Jan. 28 to Feb. 15, 6,000 Queen’s students will be randomly selected to complete a Student Health and Wellness Survey administered by the National College Health Association (NCHA). The survey, issued to more than two dozen Canadian post-secondary institutions will seek to better understand student health so academic and personal supports, including mental health support, can continue to grow. Learn more about the survey.