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Concordia, let’s talk about our wellbeing

by Mia Anhoury January 23, 2018 0 comment

Learn about the university’s resources and services at Chime In’s mental health fair

Last year, Bell Let’s Talk brought together members of the Concordia community looking to keep the conversation about mental health going throughout the year. They joined forces to create Chime In, a group aimed at informing students about the mental health resources available to them on campus and in their community. With this goal in mind, Chime In will be hosting a mental health fair on Jan. 31—which coincides with this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day.

Chime In—an acronym that stands for connectedness, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment—is a collaborative effort between Concordia students and student organizations, the university’s counselling and psychological services, as well as the Montreal-based non-profit Collective Community Services (CCS). Also among the group’s members are Jack.org, a national organization that aims to eliminate the stigma around mental health, and the Concordia Students’ Nightline, an evening and weekend listening service.

“As a counselling service, we realized that we can’t do everything alone,” said Howard Magonet, the director of Concordia’s counselling and psychological services. “The more partners we have to go out and talk about mental health to reduce stigma of mental illness, the better.”

The mental health fair will welcome representatives from Chime In and other Concordia services, such as the campus wellness and support services, the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC), recreation and athletic services, Concordia’s Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre and the Native Resource Centre. “The fair will provide a really important forum and fabric to the community,” said Alia Nurmohamed, a Chime In student representative.

“Often people don’t have the vocabulary to even understand what they are going through,” said Jillian Ritchie, a spokesperson for CCS. “[So we] help give them the resources and the information they need.”

Chime In’s goal is to change the discourse around mental health by focusing on a holistic view—taking care of one’s wellbeing at all levels. According to Concordia psychologist Irene Petsopoulis, the fair will focus on the four pillars of mental health: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. There will be activities showing the value of physical exercise in improving mental health. The fair will also showcase alternative methods to talk therapy, such as pet or art therapy, the latter of which is offered by community art studios called Art Hives.

Some people feel more comfortable using one technique to improve mental health rather than another, Magonet explained. The fair will expose students to a wide range of methods so they see how varied the help can be and determine what feels right for them, he added.

The fair’s inviting environment will encourage students to ask questions and find out what resources are available to them, Nurmohamed said. “[The fair] starts a conversation that invites people in a way that is not intimidating,” she added. “We’re at a turning point in the way we converse about mental health.”

The mental health fair will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the atrium of the EV building. For more information about the event, visit the Concordia website.

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