Bringing awareness to students’ mental health

Cutouts of broken hearts decorated with messages written by St. Thomas University students will be part of a mental health campaign this winter.

It’s called #StudentsLetsAct. The three-day campaign will bring awareness about the impact mental illness has on students. It also aims to fund mental health accommodations and services.

Emma Walsh, St. Thomas University Students’ Union vice-president education, said it’s time to act.

“This is taking the momentum we’ve built up from the discussion over the past few years with things like Bell Let’s Talk and other various mental health campaigns and pushing it to action,” Walsh said.

The broken hearts will be available on campus, for students to write messages. During the campaign, the notes will be posted around campus.

Twenty-two other Canadian universities will also be participating. When the campaign ends, the student governments will send the students’ messages to the provincial and federal governments and other institutions.

Walsh said the goal is to advocate for changes in mental health care services, funding and accommodations.

“We can discuss and talk about how to make things different but sometimes I think it takes an extra additional push to set those things into action, so that’s what this is,” said Walsh.

Kelly Humber Kelly, STU’s mental health coordinator, said accessible services for student mental health is worth funding.

“If you try to do something on your own, it’s a lot harder than when you have some support and help to guide the way,” Humber Kelly said.

“You get those supports, you feel less isolation, you learn coping skills, you learn life habits that will help with your mental health.”

Walsh said the campaign is one of the Canadian Alliance of Student Association’s National Advocacy Committee’s major projects.

“We’re all individual students in Canada who have our own experiences and by being able to share that and send that to a politician, sometimes that can be more impactful,” she said.

“Students want to change something, they want to do something tangible and I think [this campaign] is really harnessing that energy and that opportunity to show solidarity.”

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