Did you know that October 10th is World Mental Health day? Having a specific day devoted to mental health encourages us to discuss the overwhelming issue of how to maintain our mental health under pressure, and the importance of access to resources. This is something that we do every day within the Students’ Union through student groups on campus and the operation of the Peer Support Centre.

The mental health of university students can be greatly affected by many things, like academic stress or difficulties making connections on campus. We encourage you to seek support for anything you may be struggling with, but there are also smaller things you can do to maintain your mental health. Building personal connections with others can be beneficial when students are on such a big campus. Joining a student group is a great way to form your own community on campus and provides a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests. Student groups can also extend beyond your academic bubble to give you a bit of a break from the weekly school grind.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it can often be easy for students to fall into a slump of just attending class, doing school work, rinse and repeat. While this may seem productive, it can often lead to burnout and stress. Joining a student group, in any capacity, can help to prevent this slump and give your mind a bit of a break during the day. Many student groups have a range of time commitments, like once a month or once a week, to help you socialize with your peers without feeling overwhelmed.

Many student groups on campus exist specifically to focus on mental health and surrounding concerns. One example is Active Minds at University of Alberta, a student-operated advocacy group focused on raising awareness of the issues surrounding mental health. Beyond this they also work to decrease the stigma around mental health to create a more comfortable campus environment and open conversation. One of the group's other goals is to provide easier access to information and resources relating to mental health disorders. To achieve their goals, Active Minds hosts guest speakers, provides informational fact sheets, and organizes fundraisers! On the whole, this student group’s work helps to create a more inclusive space for students and encourages them to seek help for anything they may need.

If you are struggling and need to talk to someone, the Peer Support Centre is here to listen. The PSC is your UASU’s confidential, non-judgmental place to talk about any issues big or small. Their volunteers are trained to offer peer support, crisis management, information, and a library of on and off campus resources to give you an idea of where to go when you leave the Centre. Visit their website to learn more about the PSC or to book an appointment.

We are here to remind you that you are not alone. Mental health awareness is important in any aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and we hope you take the opportunity on October 10th to learn more about the resources available to help you maintain yours!