In 2006, when Clara Hughes stepped onto the Olympic podium in Torino, Italy, she became the first and only athlete ever to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games. Four years later, she was proud to carry the Canadian flag at the head of the Canadian team as they participated in the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. But there’s another story behind her celebrated career as an athlete and her signature billboard smile.
On March 7, students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars are invited to attend A Story to Hear, a central event for the Campus Mental Health Strategy. The event will feature Hughes’s keynote address, Open Heart, Open Mind, and an update on the strategy’s progress in the past 15 months to create a community of caring. A Story to Hear is an opportunity for the campus to come together, be inspired, and learn more about what the university has to offer for mental health resources and support.
Sharing mental health stories can help break down the walls of stigma
“Mental health conditions can affect anyone at any time in their lives. With proper education, early intervention and proper treatment, a person can not only return to life and work, they can thrive and prosper,” says Hughes. “Stigma is what prevents many people from getting help. The more mental health stories are shared, the greater the chance to break down the walls of stigma, the better chance of people getting the help they need and deserve.”
On this full day of celebration, campus community members are encouraged to participate in activities, programming and workshops focused on mental health and wellness. From an interactive wellness fair, to sharing circles and free yoga, there will be a broad range of offerings that will increase our conversation about mental health and help break down barriers created by stigma.
“Over a year after the Campus Mental Health Strategy launch, it’s important to share what has been accomplished by those working diligently on the implementation of the 28 recommendations,” says Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic). “I hope everyone has the opportunity to participate in something offered during the day and takes time to care for themselves, especially in this busy time of the year.”
Broad group of campus community representatives guide mental health strategy
The strategy is guided by the Mental Health Strategy Implementation Advisory Committee, a broad group of campus community representatives working in the areas of mental health, human resources, staff wellness and student wellness who advise on and support the implementation of the recommendations.
“I believe in the power of storytelling to connect us to the struggle of mental health, of being human, of realizing we are all connected, and that healing is indeed possible,” says Hughes.