This past week I had the pleasure of being part of the Virtual Wellness Fair that took place with several societies and individuals highlighting various topics related to wellness and student life! In case you missed any of the sessions, thought it would be a great opportunity to give a brief summary of each session! Hanna Fuzesi, the mental health intern with the Wellness and Meighen Centre this year put together the fair for students, and I will be asking her questions about the event.
QUESTION: What were some of the great conversations that took place?
ANSWER: Each session shed a light on a different aspect of Mental Health! Often, people believe that mental health is one thing and focuses on how you’re feeling or your ability to deal with emotions. This is in fact very far from the way I would describe mental health, as it encompasses so many topics and affects us all in different ways. By hosting this fair, I aimed to touch as many of these subjects as possible. Of course, this could not be achieved without the help of the many wonderful mental health advocacy clubs and societies on campus. Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) kicked off the week with an incredible panel on performance anxiety. The panel consisting of talented Mount Allison athletes, allowed for insight on coping with the stresses of performing in sports at a university level all while juggling classes and a social life. The athletes shared some helpful tips on dealing with all of this and shared some personal experiences, proving once again that mental health touches all of us! A resource session by the MtA Navigate team followed, which helped students better understand the resources set up on campus for them. Logan and I discussed the myths surrounding self-care and the importance of taking care of yourself, following his awesome article about self-care as a template. Jack.Org had an amazing presentation on how to be there for yourself and others which was followed by an insightful panel on academic and mental health featuring VP academic, Charlie Burke, and the senators. We were very lucky to have a session held by Mr. Ivan Okello on coping with homesickness, adapting to new environments and new cultures while being at university. The fair came to a bittersweet end after a very helpful session led by “Change Your Mind on Burnout and Boundaries”, shedding light on the importance of prioritizing our mental health.
QUESTION: What was your favorite part?
ANSWER: While the fair in its entirety was wonderful, I have to say that my favorite part was the panel hosted by SAMHI and the academics and mental health panel. I feel as young adults, we often have a hard time allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and share our personal experiences, which ends up in feelings of solitude and isolation. The panelists in both sessions were transparent throughout the entirety of the sessions which made the conversation immersive and the topics relatable. We often feel as though we are the only ones experiencing a certain hardship or that no one else is struggling, when in reality we have all been in similar places mentally, at one point or another during our academic careers. As a first year, I would have greatly benefitted from such panels and hope that it helped a few students, as it did for myself. This is in part why the panels were my favorite of the fair, but I do have to mention that the overall success of students coming together to talk about the importance of mental health was a close second.
QUESTION: What do you think was the biggest take away from the fair?
ANSWER: The biggest take away from the fair has to be that we all have different experiences with mental health, but when we unite, we truly see that we are not alone!
QUESTION: What events can students look forward to?
ANSWER: All the sessions that were a part of the fair were recorded and will be uploaded for students to watch when in need of motivation, self-care tips or suggestions on balancing life while at university. There will also be more discussions to come second semester during Bell Let’s Talk week!
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions for the word of the week or topics you want to hear more about or are interested in volunteering for the Health Matters Society, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week. Stay positive, stay healthy, and stay safe!