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New summit to replace Mental Health Awareness Week

By Susan Anderson, September 4, 2014 —

Almost two-thirds of students in Canada report a sense of loneliness in their lives. The Students’ Union hopes to lower those numbers.

Release the Beast, a new mental health summit held from Oct. 17–18, is intended to start a two-way conversation about mental health and to help “get the monkey off your back.”

“[We want] to engage with students and to de-stigmatize mental health in general,” said Jonah Ardiel, SU vice-president student life. “People feel that they can’t talk about it.”

The SU hopes students will share their strategies for maintaining mental health and critique the strengths and weaknesses of campus services.

“It’s a student-lead and student-driven summit,” said Ashley Humeniuk, health promotion coordinator at the SU Wellness Centre.

The summit will replace Mental Health Awareness Week, which was held the past two years.

Humeniuk said that when planning the fall’s mental health events, they wanted to focus on discussions instead of the one-way conversation of a lecture or workshop.

Live music performance in the MacHall courtyards will also be held each semester. An open call will be put to student musicians to play a short set around lunchtime. The hope is that soft acoustic music will create a calming atmosphere.

Ardiel is also planning a student art show in the MacHall courtyards with the same goal in mind.


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