Promoting positive mental health and well-being

Promoting positive mental health and well-being

Thrive program receives Steve Cutway Accessibility Award for taking a lead role in improving the quality of life of the Queen’s community.

February 28, 2020


Return To Work team members

The Thrive Week team at Queen's includes, from left, Sydney Downey, Angela Geris, and Katrina McCann. (University Communications)

The Thrive program at Queen’s University has been in place for five years and in recognition of the ongoing efforts the organizers are being recognized with the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award, one of the Tri-Awards given out annually by the Human Rights and Equity Office.

Thrive Week, held in November each year by Queen’s Human Resources, offers a series of events focused on building positive mental health and well-being for students, faculty, and staff, while also highlighting the resources available to the Queen’s community.

The Human Rights and Equity Office’s Tri-award Selection Committee chose the Thrive team for the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award for their devotion and taking a lead role in improving the quality of life of Queen’s staff, demonstrating innovation through a week-long series of events, and fostering an environment that removes the stigma associated with mental health disabilities.

Since its start, Sydney Downey, Return to Work Manager, Queen’s Human Resources, has headed up the organizing team and has seen the program evolve and grow in terms of both offerings and participation.

Tri-Award Selection Committee
Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Coordinator, Faculty of Law
Andrew Ashby, Accessibility Coordinator, Human Rights and Equity Office
Nilani Loganathan, Human Rights Advisor, Human Rights and Equity Office
Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion)
Christine Coulter, Faculty, Smith School of Business
Penny Zhang, Society of Graduate and Professional Students

The program promotes the development of a language, a dialogue about mental health and helps create a sense of community and connection on campus. It also recognizes that the mental health of the entire Queen’s community matters and how we interact, play, learn with each other is key to a healthy community.

“Thrive Week teaches us skills to self-care but also gives the campus community an event or an opportunity to exercise care and compassion for others,” Downey says. “This event was a big step to recognizing employee wellness on campus and bringing it into the spotlight alongside student wellness. This campus-wide systemic approach to wellness has been integral to the impetus and creation of the Campus Wellness Framework.”

Receiving the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award is a real honour for the team, which includes Downey, Angela Geris, and Katrina McCann. The award is not only acknowledgement that their efforts are being recognized but that they are making a difference for the Queen’s community.

“We are thrilled and it is incredibly meaningful that each of us was recognized,” Downey says. “An initiative of this size is a huge commitment for a team of three and is executed with passion and the hope that we are making a difference to someone. We always receive feedback that we are.” 

The Tri-Awards celebration is scheduled for March 3.

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The annual Human Rights and Equity Office Tri-Awards honour individuals and group accomplishments in the areas of employment equity, accessibility and human rights. Find out more information about:
Steve Cutway Accessibility Award
Employment Equity Award
Human Rights Initiative Award
The awards reception is scheduled for March 3, 1-3 pm at Rose Innovation Room, Mitchell Hall
Registration: Human Rights and Equity Office, 2019 Tri-Awards Celebration.