January 25, 2018 - 1:15pm
Mariners basketball players asking fans to Make Some Noise for Mental Health
Every one of us has ups and downs in our mental health and mental illness will affect all Canadians either directly or indirectly in their lifetime.
They may experience mental illness themselves or have a family member, friend or colleague who struggles with it. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, approximately eight per cent of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives. In any given year, one in five people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.
To raise more awareness about mental health and promote student well-being, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is hosting What About Wellness Week, which runs from Monday, January 29 to Friday, February 2.
As part of the events held during What About Wellness Week, the VIU Mariners men’s and women’s basketball teams are participating in Make Some Noise for Mental Health Day. Make Some Noise is a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) initiative which supports campaigns that raise mental health awareness, encourage open mindedness and promotion of resources and support on campuses and in the community. It also encourages CCAA members to participate in Bell Let’s Talk Day, which is Wednesday, January 31.
“It’s a very important event that athletic departments across the country participate in,” said Stephanie White, VIU’s Director of High Performance Sport, Recreation and Physical Literacy. “It’s important for us to be a loud voice in the discussion about mental health on university campuses.”
Mariners are inviting fans to bring noisemakers to the matches against Quest U Kermodes on February 2 and get loud. The loudest will win pizza. The women play at 6 pm and the men’s game begins at 8 pm.
White said making noise will not only let fans show their support for Mariners athletes but also is a mechanism to reduce the silence around mental health issues and let people know there are supports available.
“It is something everyone pretty much goes through at some point in their life. We have to recognize it,” she said. “It doesn’t diminish who we are as people.”
Activities are planned throughout What About Wellness Week on VIU’s Nanaimo campus. Gemma Armstrong, a VIU Counsellor, said VIU hopes to provide opportunities for connection and open conversations, and encourage students to reflect and learn about their mental health.
“We want students to know that they can take charge of their mental health by building awareness and developing skills and supports,” she said. “I like to imagine that when we ask each other “how are you?” that we can be real with each other whether we are struggling or flourishing.”
Activities include a Wellness Day at Shq’apthut – Natural Spiritual Healing, free coffee and stress relief activities hosted by the VIU Students’ Union, a Stitch and Bitch and more. For Bell Let’s Talk Day students and VIU community members are invited to the Upper Cafeteria to play games, destress and learn about supports available.
During What About Wellness Week VIU Counselling Services is also asking students to fill out a survey about health and wellness events and programs on campus. The information will be used to help strengthen existing counselling programs and determine what other ways the University can engage students in health and wellness activities.
Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University