Let’s Talk Health… Mental Health.

This week, I decided to check out the $5 lunch and Mental Wellness Fair, hosted by Health and Wellness, at Hart House.  It was an eye-opening experience because I had no clue about the sheer amount of resources available on campus to help students with their mental health and wellness.  After having engaged in conversation with many representatives of the different organizations there, I thought I’d highlight a few here: Active Minds – UofT Chapter This newly created student group seeks to change the conversation about mental health.  In order to encourage honest and open discussion with other students, they advocate for mental health awareness and seek to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. They believe that a major step in making mental health treatment accessible to all is to create open and non-judgmental environments for those suffering from mental illness. Their intent is to create these spaces on campus. Want to know more? Join them for Coffee, Cupcakes, a Live Talk and more! Where: Centre for International Experience (33 St. George St., Cumberland House) When: Thursday, November 1st from 4:00pm-6:00pm   Healthy U Crew A student-led initiative, Healthy U Crew is dedicated to creating a healthier campus for all students.  This includes both physical and mental health and wellness.  The idea is that fostering healthier choices can help students to better achieve their personal and academic goals.  The Crew is currently focusing on stress and how it can impact health and academics.  This term they are travelling around campus asking students what they are worried about, and posting students comments and providing advice on the Worry Wall – check it out!   Leave the Pack Behind (LTPB) LTPB is a peer to peer health education program that addresses protection, prevention and cessation on campus. It offers students information and support with regard to smoking-cessation, tobacco denormalization and environmental tobacco smoke.  They also offer ideas on how to help a friend (who wants to quit) stop smoking.  Do you know what your CO level is?  Get it checked at one of the LTPB displays around campus.   Peers are Here Peers are Here is a non-judgmental drop-in space for students to connect with fellow students to talk about anything.  Their philosophy is that by students sharing their own experiences with other students, it can help reduce stress and promote mental wellness through this mutual peer support.  Everyone is welcome! When: Every Tuesday, beginning November 6 from 3:00pm-4:00pm Where: University College, room 259 (up the stairs beside the Registrar’s Office) Contact: peersarehere@gmail.com or join the group “Peers are Here” on Facebook.   In short, there was great food (as usual) from Hart House, and I was able to learn a lot – not only about mental health resources on campus (and off campus) but also just about mental health itself.  There are a lot of really passionate, friendly students on campus who want to further the discussion on mental health and make support and resources much more accessible.  With all the stress that we put ourselves through during our academic careers I think it’s worthwhile to recognize and use the resources available at UofT, in order to enjoy the university experience to the fullest.  Let’s join in the discussion and really make stigma a thing of the past! Is there a mental health resource on campus that I haven’t mentioned?  Feel free to mention it in the comments! - Vivian

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