Bell Let’s Talk Day was Wednesday, January 30, and BACS student Bailey O’Neil was eager to highlight the event, along with other mental health initiatives here on campus.
When Bailey and her classmates Curtis Brown, Todd Graham, Arden Bernard, Chelsie Alleyne, Kyle Whiffen and Xioxu Cui were brought together in Professor John Hudec’s Community Action Project Class, they discovered they had one major thing in common. Each of them had experienced a mental health issue firsthand or knew someone who had. They decided that mental health awareness needed to be at the forefront of their class project, which requires students to address a problem they see in the community around them.
“Our first goal was to collaborate with fellow student Emma Roland, who has been working to establish a JACK.org chapter at CBU,” says Bailey.
JACK.org is a Canadian charity with a mission to train youth leaders on ways to dismantle barriers to positive mental health in their communities. The youth-led chapters work year round to establish new mental health initiatives while serving as a safe and inclusive space for all.
“Our COMS project has focused on working with Emma to promote the newly established group and fundraise for mental health initiatives at CBU,” says Bailey. “When discussing the best time to launch the group, we thought the week of Bell Let’s Talk would be perfect!”
With some help from Student Life and Community Engagement Coordinator, Jennifer Billard, Bailey and her group-mates were able to organize a volunteer opportunity on campus to highlight Bell Let’s Talk Day.
From 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, the group hosted a photobooth in the CBU cafeteria. Students, staff and faculty members were invited to pose with Bell Let’s Talk “speech bubbles” that they personalized with kind messages. The students handed out information about mental health services and encouraged participants to use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on social media, which helps to raise money for mental health initiatives in Canada.
Bailey and her group-mates know first-hand that university can be a stressful time for students, and hope that promoting available resources will offer support and encouragement to their peers.
“The negative stigma surrounding mental illness may influence someone not to seek the help they need,” says Bailey. “We want people to know that they don’t have to suffer in silence. We’re here to support one another.”
Personal Counselors For appointments: contact Angela MacKinnon at 902-563-1639 or email@example.com or visit the Learning Commons.
Max Bell Health Centre Doctor, nurse, physiotherapy, massage, referrals Located in Canada Games Complex (near Subway/Bus Station)
Scott Thomas, CBU Human Rights and Diversity Officer, 902-563-1875 (office), or 902-574-2350(cell)/firstname.lastname@example.org
Nova Scotia Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-429-8167 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Good2Talk: 1-833-292-3698 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (service for students)
7 Cups: www.7cups.com – free online peer support service for students
Kognito: https://healthymindsns.kognito.com – free health simulation to assist with identifying students in psychological distress, how to approach to discuss concerns, and make referrals