Appreciating mindful differences By: Ayma Aqib, Orientation Editor

Following the University of British Columbia’s event on wellness, the University of Waterloo initiated their own Student Mental Health committee.

Wellness Collaborative held its launch event hoping to create a culture of awareness on campus on Jun. 25. The initiative aims to collaborate with students and groups to spread their healing vibes.

The launch began with mindfulness meditation conducted by Dr. Wade Wilson, followed by a lecture where he emphasized the importance of the practice. Watler Mittelstaedt and Katrina DiGravio explained that a review of the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) was requested in 2017 in response to amplified concerns over student mental health.

As a result, a report was released the following year, which initiated the launch of the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH), a committee responsible for the oversight of mental health recommendations.

These 36 recommendations mentioned in the report pushed for a proactive approach to changing the campus wellness culture. One such mental health recommendation was the adoption of the Okanagan Charter for Health Promoting Universities and College, a policy currently approved at the University of British Columbia. Using this Charter, UBC aims to transform health and sustainability, while strengthening communities — a practice Wellness Collaborative is hoping to follow as well.

The CoSMH also hopes to enhance services, improve communication about resources and provide better mental health literacy for faculty and staff.

Mittelstaedt also stated that 50 per cent of these recommendations are in progress while 22 per cent are already completed.

The advisory committee intends to use a collaborative attitude to wellness, using a community development approach, emphasizing inclusion participation and equity.

The event concluded with “hope” as a clear objective. Using an innovative and flexible strategy for change that rewards creativity and even failure through learning.


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