The student government at the Chatham campus of St. Clair College is all in when its comes to the promotion of mental–health awareness – and, so far, there’s been a positive response.
“I would say students are now more comfortable with their emotions and being able to come out and say, ‘I’m not OK, and it’s because of this,” said Stephanie MacRae, a director with Thames Students Incorporated, the college’s student government..
The college’s student services has plenty of activities planned during October for Mental Health Awareness Month from virtual wellness workshops to a half-day training session on suicide alertness skills.
Thames Students has also teamed up with the United Way of Chatham-Kent to set up a table at the college to offer a variety of free items, including stress balls, multi-coloured bracelets that represent different emotions, crossword books, colouring books and mental-health information brochures.
United Way representative Margery Muharrem said the agency facilitates a mental health, social planning and action table that includes community partners dealing with people who have mental-health issues.
“The idea kind of bubbled to up to say, ‘We need to have a way to share and de-stigmatize mental health in our youth, especially,’” Muharrem said.
She said the bracelets, along with a colour and emotion wheel, are a way to help “open up discussion about mental health because it’s something that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet and not talked about.”
MacRae said many students have taken stress balls, adding it was something they really enjoyed having to help work through their anxieties.
They also like the idea of using a colouring book to colour their emotions to see what they are feeling, she said.
“Students have liked what we’re doing, and we’re getting a lot of good feedback on being able to see each other and talk, and have that person-to-person connection that we haven’t had because of COVID,” MacRae said.
Thames Students president Hannah Lacroix said she believes it’s important for the student organization to be involved in promoting mental-health awareness, especially with student “becoming comfortable enough to come speak to us about …….