Students Lead the charge in Mental Health Outreach

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Doctoral students from UW’s Clinical Psychology program are providing practical guidance for mental health and debunking myths one session at a time.

Held in partnership with Waterloo Public Libraries on Sunday afternoons throughout February, Psychology Month in Canada, students have been presenting talks to members of the public on topics such as: Mental Health 101 and Overcoming Anxiety and Depression.

Imprint attended the Overcoming Anxiety and Depression talk and found students; parents and senior members of the public engaged and asking a wide range of questions from querying past assumptions about depression, to asking for tips on how best to support a spouse. Each question was welcomed by the doctoral students and encouraged by nods of support from the audience.

Doctoral student Kevin Capobianco initiated the mostly student run talk series with professors supporting and helping. Kevin recognised that “in our work, training to become clinical psychologists we see clients either one on one or in small groups. And there’s only so much outreach we can do that way. Only so much impact we can have… By having a talk like this we can reach out to many more people.”

Kevin presented on Paths to wellness and Seeking help and spoke about identifying Depression and Anxiety as being possible barriers to getting help. But suggested that in recognising that and finding what works best for the individual there were resources.

Fellow PhD candidates Nick Zabara presented on How to Recognise Anxiety and Chantal Gautreau on All about Depression gave practical and insightful tips such as being aware of when worries overwhelm and take over your life to seek help. And advice on recognising that patterns of Depression often look different for everyone, but that cycles of Depression and Anxiety can be broken.

Asked what they aimed for the series to accomplish, Kevin hoped “our end goal would be to educate a little bit on mental health, because there are a lot of misconceptions out there. Help raise awareness and open doors for people to seek help, because a lot of the time it’s due to a lack of awareness of resources or a sense that my own problems aren’t valid or real. By talking about it we’re hopefully making connections.”

The final talk in the series will be held on Sunday, February 26th at 2pm at Waterloo Public Library main branch, 35 Albert Street, Waterloo. Snacks, hot drinks and a supporting atmosphere are provided.

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