Attending the Mental Health Showcase
This past January I went to UVic’s 4th annual mental health showcase. This event resulted from the collaboration of different UVic staff and students working together with one main goal: reduce the stigma around mental health.
The community came together to share different student resources, connect with students and, most importantly, continue the conversation around mental health.
When I first arrived I connected with Alex from the Office of Student Life to ask a few questions about the event:
What were the main goals of this event?
“Our main goals are to make sure we are honouring and highlighting student’s voices with mental health and to have other students hear from their peers opening up about mental health in order to normalize the conversation.”
Why is this conversation important to have?
“We all have mental health and we all are at some point in the spectrum at different points in our lives. It is important we talk about it more and normalize it more. Especially in an university campus we know that mental health has an impact on student’s success, so it is something we want to make sure is included in our conversation of overall health and success.”
UVic Mental Health Awareness club
I met representatives from different groups and student services on campus. One of these was the UVic Mental Health Awareness club.
Members of the club promote mental health awareness in the community and on campus. They share information about mental health to increase awareness around it and that mental illnesses are real. Their goal is to decrease the stigma so people can get the help they need.
Club members also host conversation cafes every month or so. They also promote resources on campus and organize speaker events like, for example, how to manage stress and mental health. In summary, they are connecting people to resources and starting the conversation about mental health by taking actions. They also do fundraising for other organizations and promote other people doing the work as well.
I discovered a new program called FitConnect.
Health Services is launching this program with the goal of bridging the gap between mental health and fitness.
Their main goal is to connect participants and volunteers to implement physical activity in their lives because for many, exercise can be a way to cope with anxiety and depression.
I saw performances inspired by mental health. Some of these included poetry, music and acting.
I even met Charles, UVic’s mental health mascot!
A key aspect to remove the stigma around these topics is to continue these conversations. Talking about your mental health can be challenging, but talking about mental health as a whole could be the next small step we all take for ourselves and future students.
Note: If you are struggling, there are many resources on campus like UVic Counselling Services, the Interfaith Chapel, and even your professors. Know that you are not alone and we – the community – are here for you.
Thanks for reading~