To begin, for those of you who do not know who these people are or what they do, the Mental Health Street Team actively promotes mental wellness amongst students, and disseminating information on accessible resources. They are also responsible for the popular “Pets on Campus” events, and bringing in guest speakers to promote mental health awareness. So my first question was in that vein, what has been done already, and more importantly:
What can students expect from the Mental Health team this year, in regards to events?
Declan: For January, we have done yoga every Friday this month, as well as once in February because of how reading week conflicts with scheduling events. Then we will be doing it again every Friday during march, at noon in the Ralph King center. At our last Yoga event, we had 49 people join us in the gym space, so we're hoping to grow that event and fill out the space.
Annie: We also have an Anxiety Workshop in February, and we'll be bringing Therapy Animals back for March, too. We're also expecting to have another speaker come in to the school, at some point in this semester.
What resources can students access if, for some reason, they can't go through the school?
Annie: We just released this resource card, there are multiple phone numbers you can call, and information on obtaining free counseling, There is also a distress line specific to Edmonton, and the number for health link Alberta. There's also specific resources, like the pride center, which is nice for people who may be questioning their orientation, or seeking support.
I'm no stranger to therapy or counseling, and I remember that one of the most important things going through my head during those times was “do these people actually care”? And I know I'm not alone in feeling that intentionality is a big part of being able to talk to people from whom you might need aid. So I felt it to be equally important to find out if the people organizing these events for us have those good intentions.
Why is being a part of the Mental Health Street Team important to you?
Annie: Well, I think it's important because I personally feel that I am mentally well, and I want to help promote that balance that I have learned to achieve. I want to make it easier for people my age, or older, to realize this mental wellness. I guess it's like altruism? I just want to see other people be well.
Declan: I like promoting the resources we have available to students who may not know about them. Especially those who may be unnecessarily in distress. Trying to reach those students who are in those situations and do need these resources is important to me.
So there you have it. Mental health is important, and these two are here to extol the virtues of what we as students have access to, either at or through the school. If you come back for the next issue, this series will continue with information on physical health resources, as well as common misconceptions about the gym. Like this issue, it won't be just me droning on and on about what I may think to be the case, but real advice from athletes right here at the school. Until then, be well!