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New U of C doctoral scholarship inspires student leadership in mental health 

By Eula Mengullo, January 17 2022

The University of Calgary introduced the Josephine Wearmouth Memorial Doctoral Scholarship to underscore the importance of resilience and mental health advocacy on campus.

Recipients are awarded for their demonstrated commitment and leadership in improving mental health and fostering a caring campus community, which also strengthens the Campus Mental Health Strategy. 

The scholarship’s inaugural recipient is Dr. Linda Dorrestein, a PhD candidate from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. According to the U of C website, Dorrenstein is awarded for her advocacy through volunteerism and lived experiences. 

The pressure of immigrating from the Netherlands to Canada became a catalyst for joining a mental health subcommittee at U of C’s Foothills campus. With her career experience, Dorrestein was able to provide fresh insight into the mental and emotional challenges veterinarians face in their research and workplace. The product of her involvement resulted in the subcommittee introducing initiatives that foster a more supportive environment through peer check-ins, advocacy for mental health funding and communication workshops. 

In a statement to the Gauntlet, Dr. Andrew Szeto — director of Campus Mental Health Strategy — highlights the significance of cultivating a caring campus community by ensuring that mental health services are available to students. 

“It’s important we continue to have services, policies and university leadership supporting our efforts in improving campus mental health and well-being,” said Szeto. 

Additionally, Szeto also underscored the crucial role that students play in engaging with mental health advocacy and awareness in post-secondary institutions and the community at large.

“We also rely on our students to be a part of this important work,” he said. “Not only do they become our future leaders and change-makers, they contribute to the well-being of our campus now — whether that be in advocacy, through committee work, volunteerism, research, taking mental health training and workshops, or simply checking in on their peers.”

The Josephine Wearmouth Memorial Doctoral Scholarship honours the legacy of Josie Wearmouth, a then 19-year-old psychology student from the University of British Columbia who lost her battle with mental health in 2017. To pay tribute to Wearmouth’s memory, the scholarship was created to support efforts surrounding mental health and suicide prevention in post-secondary communities.

The scholarship is open to students who are registered full-time in a doctoral program in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. 

To learn more about the Josephine Wearmouth Memorial Doctoral Scholarship and its inaugural recipient, visit the U of C website. For more information regarding eligibility, students can consult the Graduate Award Competition Guidelines.

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