The ways in which Capilano opens the conversation surrounding mental health and the resources they offer.
Jayde Atchison // Staff Writer
October can be the scariest month of the year with Halloween as the main event. Following close behind are midterms, essays and group projects. Being a student can create stress and strain on mental health, which should not be ignored. Thankfully, society is continuously breaking the stigma by sparking mental health awareness, especially around an academic environment. Capilano University counsellor Saman Khan explains that “the conversation is changing and [we] see movements like Bell Let’s Talk and the Ride Don’t Hide campaigns.” Bell Let’s Talk is a nationwide campaign that aims to break the stigma and raise money for mental health awareness by donating five cents for each text and tweet that includes #BellLetsTalk. Similarly, Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ride Don’t Hide is a nationwide fundraiser where people across Canada have raised over $2 million each year.
CapU has been no exception to this change, as the university has been hosting events on campus to promote help, health and destressing. Mental Health Awareness Week will take place between October 8 until October 15. Throughout this week, students will find resources and opportunities to help their own health and learn more about why mental health is an important discussion to have.
Outside of the dedicated week, Capilano University will continue to offer support to all students. Counselling Services can be found in Birch 267 from Monday to Thursday between 8:30am and 4:30pm, with an earlier close of 4pm on Fridays. Counselling is confidential and the staff offers assistance with a variety of matters such as, but not limited to: anxiety, stress management, goal setting and relationship difficulties. Students can book appointments in advance or use the drop-in schedule.
As a stepping stone to individual sessions, Counselling Services offers group workshops once a week in Library 217. These sessions grant students the opportunity to meet the counselling staff and gather information on what services and resources are available. “Workshops are skill-based, so we are offering skills or strategies,” explained Khan. “We teach something practical that people can take with them and apply to their life.” Students who do not experience mental health issues are also welcome to attend these sessions as a self-improvement practice for growth or to learn more about psychology.
Each workshop runs from 11:30am-12:30pm on Thursdays. Throughout October, the workshops focus on Motivation (Oct. 3), Concentration (Oct. 10), Mindful Strategies (Oct. 17) and Three Keys to Relaxation (Oct. 31). Attending these workshops invites students to build rapport with the staff. By doing this, some of the pressure from visiting Counselling Services can be eased as talking to someone one knows and trusts is often easier than speaking to a stranger. These sessions are also a way to meet like-minded students who may be going through similar situations.
As a smaller University, the Capilano Counselling staff are able to assist students in a faster and close-quartered manner. If a student is struggling with their academic goals, a counsellor is able to lead this student to Career Services and potentially have them seen the same day. A smaller campus allows for greater access to the university’s resources.
To make an appointment with a personal counsellor, visit the counselling office in the Birch Building room BR267 or call 604 984 1744. If students are in need of further assistance outside of the services available at Capilano University, Khan suggests getting acquainted with Foundry; an organization that offers health and wellness resources for people aged 12 to 24 and are available to offer support with mental and physical health.
If you are in need of immediate assistance, please call the BC Crisis Centre at 604-872-3311.