Acadia’s Mental Health Initiative is hosting Acadia Mental Health Week this week. The week is filled with events and activities dedicated to raise awareness and encourage mental health advocacy on campus. It starts with a Wonderland Tea Party, and features events such as a Stigma is Scary Photobooth, a Resource and Support Fair, and a Bystander Intervention Training session. The Mental Health Week has been part of the Acadia Mental Health Initiative for years, and each year events are created and organized largely based students’ feedback and suggestions.
“AMHI events are often a mix of self-care and advocacy. We try to have a variety of events to appeal to different student interests, with events during Mental Health Week geared more towards advocacy," says Jenna Purkis, coordinator of Acadia Mental Health Initiative.
This year, however, the week’s focus is to bring awareness to the practical side and tangible skills that are part of mental health advocacy.
"Our organization’s focus for Mental Health Week has shifted more towards advocacy and awareness and particularly training opportunities,” says Purkis. “We wanted to promote tangible skills for people to take away. For us, the focus of Mental Health Week has shifted from just doing self-care-themed events to doing more mental health advocacy, outreach, and events with a practical focus.”
As the discussion on mental health evolves, the Initiative's goal is to address mental health issues with students throughout the year. “Weekly AMHI meetings are open to all students, and anyone can contact us directly through the Peer Support Centre if they identify a mental health issue on campus that they feel needs to be addressed or if they need support themselves.”
Another important goal this week is to ensure students are aware of all resources available for them on and off campus. This year’s resource fair will host a scavenger hunt and will host representatives from Wolfville and Kentville as well as Acadia’s Counselling Centre and other on-campus services.
“Stronger community connections and involvement is something the Mental Health Initiative has been working towards,” says Purkis. “I think there’s almost a tendency for us students to only think inside our Acadia bubble, and there’s so much more out there that to connect with and that can be support or a resource for students.”
Check out the full list of events here.
For more information on Acadia’s Mental Health Initiative, contact Jenna Purkis at firstname.lastname@example.org