PEI

UPEI Mental Health Week looks at why relationships matter

UPEI Mental Health Week, with events aimed at starting conversations on mental health with students and faculty, kicked-off on Monday and runs to Friday.

'January is a long and difficult month for many people so we thought we'd brighten up the month'

This year, UPEI has moved Mental Health Week to coincide with Bell's Let's Talk campaign, says Anne Bartlett the co-ordinator of pathways to academic success at UPEI. (Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters)

UPEI Mental Health Week, with events aimed at starting conversations on mental health with students and faculty, kicked off on Monday and runs to Friday.

The week's events will range from information sessions on coping with loneliness and homesickness, to opportunities to learn how to grow plants and garden as a means of self-care, to discussions on social media and its potential positive and negative effects on mental health. 

The week started off with a presentation by Jeremie Saunders, one of the hosts of the popular podcast Sickboy, which looks to break down stigma surrounding illness and disease whether it manifests physically or mentally.

In his speech to students and faculty, Saunders touched on the week's theme, Relationships Matter.

"Through this … experiment we've started over the last few years I've noticed that vulnerability plays such a key role in forming relationships," Saunders said, during an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin.

Coinciding with Bell's Let's Talk

For Anne Bartlett, the co-ordinator of pathways to academic success at UPEI, the week-long celebration is a great chance to reflect on the relationships students have with others and with themselves and how that plays into mental health year-round.

This year, UPEI has moved Mental Health Week to coincide with Bell's Let's Talk campaign. In the past, the event has taken place in February or March.

'Through this … experiment we've started over the last few years I've noticed that vulnerability plays such a key role in forming relationships,' says Jeremie Saunders, who co-hosts the popular podcast Sickboy.

The decision was made to allow students to become more familiar with the support systems and resources available to them earlier on in the year.

"January is a long and difficult month for many people so we thought we'd brighten up the month," Bartlett said. 

Mental health tips

The week's events will also include student leaders representing UPEI's Jack.org chapter who will be working to spread the word on some daily mental health tips through information sessions and at several booths.

Jack.org is a national organization run by students for students, with chapters in every province, which looks to facilitate conversations around mental health. 

Faculty will also be taking part through their own information sessions including opportunities to learn about the possible benefits bullet journaling and art journaling can have on mental health. 

"When we have a week that celebrates this and breaks those barriers it really forces the message that we're not alone, we are a community ... if you're having a hard day just reach out and talk to somebody," Bartlett said.

More P.E.I. news

With files by CBC News: Compass

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