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NAIT joins the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day

By Admin User on February 23, 2019

NAIT promoted campus mental health programs on Bell Let’s Talk Day with guest speakers, information kiosks and “Talking Tables” which allowed students and staff to join in on a conversation about wellness. 

“Bell Let’s Talk is all about ending the stigma around mental health.  So it’s letting everybody know that everyone suffers through [a] mental health issue or concern at sometime in their life. And it’s okay to talk about it,” said Lynn Ryan, NAIT’s Mental Health Coordinator.

The main event was a panel of students and staff sharing their personal stories of overcoming the struggles they faced with their mental health challenges.

“We have a panel of six members from the NAIT community that are sharing their stories and their struggles with their own mental health [and] celebrating how they overcame their concerns and struggles,” Ryan said. “We also have six tables with the six aspects of wellness and people there to talk and share their conversation around that as well.”

NAIT athletes also joined in on the conversation. The belief that athletes do not struggle with their mental health is a misconception that the Ooks want to talk about. Athletes who are struggling with their mental health can often find strength and support in one another.

“I have a great support system within my team. We are here for each other and we support each other. We talk each other through things so that’s a great thing to have definitely,” said Verca Kuzelova, a NAIT student-athlete.

Many people living with a mental illness report that negative stereotypes can cause more suffering than the illness itself. As a result, two-thirds of those suffering from mental illness are too afraid to reach out for help.

“A lot of the stigma [surrounding people living with mental health issues] is that people will judge you, people will think you’re weak. People won’t want to do projects with you because they feel you’re a liability, so it’s scary to share,” added Ryan.

According to a recent study, 87 per cent of Canadians are more aware of mental health issues than they were five years ago. Furthermore, 85 per cent think attitudes about mental health have changed for the better.

Although Bell Let’s Talk Day has passed, NAIT has expressed the importance of keeping the conversation going all year round.

Having open discussions around mental health is key to ending the stigma. As we build the community and supports, we start to see that everyone has had some sort of issue at some time in their life and we hear their stories of success and see how we can be successful.

Lynn Ryan

The Bell Let’s Talk campaign has raised more than $7.2 million for mental health initiatives.



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