Mental health in the spotlight
January 21, 2022
Queen’s University’s annual Mental Health Promotion Week is a time to reflect on personal mental health and work towards creating a community of care. Built to surround Bell Let’s Talk Day (Jan. 26), Mental Health Promotion Week aims to address the stigma associated with mental illness while raising awareness of supports and resources available to students, staff, and faculty. The week-long event takes place Jan. 24-28 with various initiatives to increase social connections and improve emotional, physical, and mental health.
“Our goal is to spotlight some of the amazing mental health promotion efforts at Queen’s, especially the work done by student leaders and student staff,” says Kate Humphrys, Health Promotion Coordinator, Student Wellness Services (SWS). “We hope this week helps to keep the conversation going on this crucial topic all year long.”
Postsecondary education can be a stressful time for students, particularly with changes to learning formats and public health guidelines. As the university enters its third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health education and advocacy continue to be an important focus at Queen’s. Encouraging open, respectful, and inclusive conversations, Mental Health Promotion Week is about feeling connected even during times of social distancing and remote learning.
“We know mental health is critical to our overall well-being and sometimes we can focus on personal care activities that help maintain good mental health but other times, it may not be enough,” says Beth Blackett, Health Promotion Special Projects, Student Wellness Services “When someone is struggling, they often need a community of care that can help them find the necessary supports and resources. Mental Health Promotion week helps highlight some of those supports and reminds everyone that it is OK to talk about mental health, reach out when we need help and most importantly to support each other.”
Working to create an environment where everyone feels safe and accepted is paramount to ensuring everyone can achieve their full potential as healthy, resilient, and inspired members of the Queen’s community. Acknowledging the intersectionality between mental health and other areas of wellness, Student Wellness Services, along with various student-led groups and departments on campus, has created a number of virtual challenges, events, and workshops designed to stimulate discussion and social engagement.
Events and Initiatives
- This year, in collaboration with the Queen's Student Mental Health Network, the Campus Wellness Project will be announcing nominees for Classroom Champions for Mental Health. Classroom Champions recognize professors, instructors, and TAs who create learning environments where student mental health is valued and supported.
- Participate in the Get Active Challenge by registering for a virtual fitness class at the ARC, hosted by Athletics and Recreation.
- Get involved in the Rest & Relax Challenge by booking a Peer Wellness Coaching session or Professional Healthy Lifestyle appointment to learn strategies to improve sleep patterns. Attend a workshop on how to create a customized self-care plan sharing evidence-based strategies to manage stress, or learn how to support someone who is struggling by enrolling in a seminar on identifying and responding to students in distress or crisis. Find your safe-space through trauma informed writing exercises and guided mediation.
- Grab your paper and writing utensils and create some beautiful affirmation art with the Queen's Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services. Connect with LGBQT community members by joining discussions about queer survivorship, hosted in collaboration with Sexual Assault Centre Kingston. Finding Your Joy Through Music encourages BIPOC students to come together and share their favourite songs from their playlist. Take a professionally-facilitated mindfulness session to visualize and promote positive self-growth.
- Visit the virtual photo booth available on Bell Let’s Talk Day, and take part in a digital scavenger hunt focusing on BIPOC resources. Drop by one of the various in-person locations on campus to pick-up Bell swag, including toques and speech bubbles. Go online and download the Bell Let’s Talk Tool Kit and see how you can further support mental health.
- Nourish yourself by registering and picking-up a free Fresh Food Box containing all the produce and key ingredients needed to prepare a healthy meal, or check out the Food Access Resource website for more tips on where to find healthy, affordable foods. Join in on Stories Spark Change featuring conversations with internationally renowned author Roxane Gay and best-selling author Eternity Martis on healing and sexual violence.
- Embrace nature by exploring the outdoors in the Get Outside challenge.
Learn more about the virtual events being offered across campus on the Mental Health Promotion Week webpage. Events will continue to be added throughout the week.
Queen’s students can access support from the AMS Peer Support Centre, and Student Wellness Services Mental Health Services website. Additional resources include Empower Me, a 24/7 phone service that allows students to connect with qualified counselors, consultants, and life coaches for a variety of issues, and TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), an online, mobile friendly library of engaging, interactive pathways that promote wellness.