World Mental Health Day is coming up next week on Tuesday, October 10. Navigate Mt. A, alongside the Garnet Guide, will be hosting an event as they look to celebrate the day and raise awareness about mental health resources.
Maggie Brewer is Mt. A’s Mental Health Outreach Coordinator and she, alongside other students, created Navigate Mt. A in March 2020. The goal of the initiative was to help students create and maintain a foundation of wellness throughout their studies. Brewer says she and others were inspired to create Navigate because she recognized students were unaware of the resources available to them and wanted to connect peers through this group. Some ways of promotion include outreach booths at various school locations, self-care workshops, and a wellness week which takes place once each semester. Brewer says the hope is that Navigate Mt. A can “enhance [the] knowledge of mental health and wellness support available to students.”
World Mental Health Day, observed for the past 31 years, has had a large presence worldwide as it looks to raise awareness about mental health around the world. Brewer announced Navigate’s plans for the day. From 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on October 10, Navigate will be holding a low-energy event alongside several other clubs for World Mental Health Day in Tweedie Hall. With the entire school community in mind, Brewer calls the World Mental Health Day event an “opportunity to bring staff and faculty together to exchange knowledge, research, and discussions surrounding wellness at Mt. A and campus resources.” Brewer emphasizes that this event is open to all members of the Mt. A community. You can email her if you are interested in attending ([email protected]).
The event will also promote the launch of a new mental health resource on campus called the Garnet Guide. Initiated by fourth-year sociology student Isabella Gallant, the Garnet Guide is a “comprehensive resource to help students navigate mental health and wellness at university.” “What exactly is it?” you may ask. The guide takes a holistic approach, providing information on available resources on and off campus pertaining to mental health, sexual violence, physical health, food and housing support, and much more. The Garnet Guide also aims to educate university students on relevant topics such as, which practitioner is applicable to you and how to navigate insurance. The Garnet Guide can be found at surl.li/kxpdj.
Similar to why Brewer initiated Navigate, Gallant said: “There are really great support systems on campus, but if people don’t know about them or feel comfortable accessing them, they can not help people.” Gallant acknowledges the difficulty that comes with being a post-secondary student and how critical it is to prioritize mental well-being. “It is really about knowledge translation and mental health literacy,” says Gallant, “encouraging students to take care of themselves proactively instead of only accessing services when they reach a point of significant distress.”
Gallant says the Garnet Guide is unique because rather than telling students that resources are available, it tells students why they should use these resources. It also looks to gain student feedback so relevant information is updated and convenient.
Gallant looks to change perspectives on mental health and wellness so that students can “take advantage of the many resources on campus and care for themselves proactively.” Not only does the Garnet Guide want to encourage the use of mental health tools, but Gallant recognizes that “access to housing, food, and healthcare is so much more necessary to achieving good mental health.”
With World Mental Health Day coming up on Tuesday, don’t forget to check out the low-energy event held by Navigate, the Garnet Guide, and various clubs in Tweedie Hall from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For those interested in attending, please email Maggie Brewer ([email protected]).