First Student Leader Mental Health Summit held at Mount Allison
Twenty-five Mount Allison University students and staff members started the winter semester with an open discussion about mental health. The Student Leader Mental Health Summit, organized by the University’s Wellness Centre and the Mount Allison Students’ Union, was held on January 16, 2016.
“The event went very well,” says Karen Geldart, Mount Allison’s mental health educator. “There are a lot of great ideas from our students and staff. Mental health is something our community is definitely passionate about.”
First-year Science student Metin Ali participated in the event. He says the conference allowed for some great discussions among students about mental health on campus and in their communities.
“The Student Leader Mental Health Summit wasn’t an ordinary conference where students come and just listen to speakers for the whole time,” he says. “The conference was organized by the ones that attended the conference. This new method and approach of a conference is called Open Spaces, where there is no set agenda for the conference, but rather the agenda was created by those participating. ”
Topics discussed by participants included: self-compassion; mental health and marginalized identities; respectful language around mental health; and resources and support at Mount Allison and in the broader community.
Fourth-year honours biology student Nick Cochkanoff helped organize the event. “I am very pleased with how the Summit turned out. Individuals from all over the University were able to work together to come up with numerous actions that students and student groups can do to preserve and improve the mental health of students across campus.”
Geldart is currently looking at ways to communicate the findings from this event to the broader community and hopes to work on similar events in the future.
“The aim of the event was to ask what actions students (and community members) can take to foster a better environment, supporting their own mental health and those of others. Having an open and healthy discussion about mental health can only help in this process.”
The Mental Health educator is located in the University’s Wellness Centre (ground floor, Wallace McCain Student Centre). Learn more about services at: mta.ca/wellness or contact Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org), or follow on Twitter @MtAmentalhealth
Photo captions: Students come together for a discussion group at the Student Leader’s Mental Health Summit, held January 16.
Student organizer Nick Cochkanoff at the Student Leader’s Mental Health Summit.