As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the University of Saskatchewan hosted a conference called Be Well Day on Oct. 5. The day consisted of various speeches about mental- and physical-health issues, such as dealing with stress, and the strategies and resources available to students.
This initiative was part of the Wellness Strategy at the U of S, which aims to take a holistic approach to creating an environment that supports well-rounded health for all students and staff at the university.
There were four speeches in total, covering how to achieve a healthy life, healthy mind and healthy body. Allan Kehler, a mental-health professional and author, made the keynote speech and also spoke about stress and how it affects people’s personal and professional lives.
There were representatives there to speak about achieving a healthy mind from the Partnership Program, a public-awareness program developed by the Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan to bring awareness to mental illness. They had a series of people speak about their experiences with mental-health issues, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Stephanie Fusni and Justin Andrushko, two PhD students at the College of Kinesiology, spoke about the importance of staying active in order to have a healthy body. They outlined the negative outcomes of staying sedentary all day and ways to incorporate more activity into everyday life.
Because of the university’s desire for a healthier population on campus, there is a growing need for awareness about health issues at the university. The Wellness Strategy recognizes this, which is why they organized Be Well Day to cover all areas of health.
The Wellness Strategy began as a partnership between Human Resources and the Office of the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, at the U of S. The program was created in order to foster an environment of wellness in which the students and staff have the resources they need to help them optimize their health and well-being. A few of the goals of the Wellness Strategy are to improve morale, engagement and productivity through the bettering of all areas of health for everyone studying and working at the U of S.
To achieve these goals, the program strives to increase awareness of healthy behaviours and lifestyles, and Be Well Day was an initiative designed to help with this. With the help of these speakers who came to the university, they hoped to spread awareness of physical and mental health issues that specifically affect university students and staff.
Outside of Be Well Day, the U of S hosted a number of events throughout the week that addressed mainly mental health. Some of these events included mindfulness meditation sessions, a resource fair and speakers covering a number of different topics, including dealing with difficult emotions and understanding adult ADHD. If you missed these events, don’t worry. The U of S hosts a lot of events like these year-round, so you just have to check the Wellness Strategy website for the next dates.
Initiatives like Be Well Day are important in order to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and to foster a supportive environment where everyone has the resources they need to take care of their health. It would be beneficial for the U of S to continue to spread awareness about areas of health that affect students and to provide resources for students to improve their well-being in all areas.
Events such as this one are important to student wellness, because they bring awareness to resources that students otherwise wouldn’t know they have access to. You can go to the Wellness Strategy website at usask.ca/wellness-strategy/ to find these resources, if you missed the events, or to find similar events in the future.
Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer
Graphic: Jaymie Stachyruk