Feeling better: SA initiative focuses on mental health

There is a new initiative at Red Deer College — the Mental Health Initiative — and it is all about helping students feel better. The Students’ Association introduced this initiative in the fall term and as the name implies, it is an effort to improve the mental health of RDC students.

There are two components to this initiative; one is online and the other focuses on on-campus activities and awareness.

The online component provides resources and guidance for RDC students who are feeling stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns. This includes the Mywellness program which can be found at www.mywellnessplan.ca (select Students’ Association of Red Deer College)

This site has a huge assortment of both on-campus and off-campus links and resources — ranging from the RDC Counselling & Career Centre to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Red Deer district — to help students become more informed about mental health issues and the services available to them.

The site also connects students to FeelingBetterNow, Canada’s only “medically approved, anonymous online mental health care program designed to assist in the prevention, early diagnosis and on-going management of common emotional and mental health issues.”
Students who are at high risk are provided with online tools to help them and their physician identify and treat emotional and mental health problems using medical best practices.

The student and their physician receive a patient-specific risk map indicating the severity of the condition; a patient-specific care map to assist them in the detection, treatment and follow up of emotional and mental health problems; and follow up maps every three weeks to track progress and recovery.

The second component of the initiative is the on-campus aspect. By facilitating events on campus it is hoped that these activities will help foster a positive environment where mental health can be explored and enhanced. In this framework, it is hoped good mental health can be supported.

Such events include the fall term’s Mental Health Awareness week. The week’s activities included a puppy room, yoga and meditation sessions and several hands-on activities like create your own stress ball. These fun and soothing activities helped students embody their stressors and relieve stress.

Relieve stress now

Stress, depression, anxiety are an ongoing threat to students’ mental health. According to studies, one in four post-secondary students experience stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health symptoms. The three most common factors affecting academic performance are stress, sleep difficulties and anxiety.

The Mental Health Initiative is continuing its efforts to give students the tools to deal with mental health stressors and show that there are many ways to deal with stress in a healthy manner.

With those goals in mind, an assortment of mental health-related events are being planned for this term. Keep your eyes open for the upcoming Mental Health Initiative Scavenger Hunt, where participants will search for health and wellness services on campus and for the winter installment of Mental Health Week.

If you have any questions or suggestions for the Mental Health Initiative, please email [email protected]