March 7, 2019

Ian Campeau and Vivek Shraya face complexities of mental health and identity head-on

Campus Mental Health Strategy celebrates three years with compelling progress event
Rex is a fierce supporter of the Campus Mental Health Strategy — and here he walks the talk with his friends Karen MacDonald, left, and Jennifer Kzionzena from the Native Centre. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
Rex is a fierce supporter of the Campus Mental Health Strategy — and here he walks the talk with his

The Campus Mental Health Strategy celebrated three years on Tuesday with Stories to Hear, featuring a progress update from Dr. Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic) and inspiring keynote talks about identity and mental health from notable Canadian artists Ian Campeau and Vivek Shraya.

Campeau, who is co-founder of the music group A Tribe Called Red, and a mental health advocate, credited discovering his traditional Anishinaabe language to rediscovering his identity, and stressed the complicated mental health effects of colonialism.

  • Pictured above is Rex, a fierce supporter of the Campus Mental Health Strategy — and here he walks the talk with his friends Karen MacDonald, left, and Jennifer Kzionzena from the Native Centre.

Shraya, assistant professor in the Department of English, and award-winning author and musician, showcased her powerful short film I Want to Kill Myself, and discussed the life-saving importance of using dialogue to address suicide.

To wrap up the event, Dr. Andrew Szeto, PhD, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy made several important announcements as we look to the future:

  • The Faculty of Nursing has made a formal commitment to the Campus Mental Health Strategy, following the Schulich School of Engineering and the Faculty of Arts who have already adopted the strategy.
  • The CMHS Grants applications are now open for students, faculty and staff to foster positive mental health and wellness, and help build a supportive environment, through their own big ideas. 
  • An Embedded Certificate in Mental Wellbeing and Resilience will be launched in fall 2019, which will allow students to explore mental health from multiple perspectives within their undergraduate degree.

In addition to the progress event, UCalgary units offered a full day of campus-wide activities, including a wellness fair which featured internal and external support services; a panel discussion about the intersection of cultural diversity and mental health presented by WellBeing and WorkLife; and a Talking Circle with Ian Campeau, presented in partnership with ii' taa'poh'to'p, UCalgary’s Indigenous Strategy.

The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential. If you think you need help, please visit resources here. If you think someone you know needs help, find more information here.