Mental health support and education provided at annual Lakeshore fair

by | Mar 16, 2018 | Lakeshore, News

Addictions and Mental Health students hosted the third annual Mental Health Fair on Lakeshore Campus, pushing for better awareness and support. (Clement Goh)

Clement Goh
News Reporter

Students from the Addictions and Mental Health Program hosted its third annual Mental Health Fair at Humber’s Lakeshore Campus.

A large hall of booths bridged guests with activities last Tuesday that touched on various mental health issues.

As part of a semester-wide course, a goal of the event introduces students to the college’s services across the campus.

Students broke into groups, creating a project that touches on subjects such as body image, schizophrenia, intimate trauma and the justice system.

Iris Sokoloff, professor for Humber’s Social Service Worker Program, said the fair also lets people better understand the complications of mental health and to seek support when needed.

“In order to reduce stigma, we need to increase awareness of mental health challenges for students (in general) in the population,” Sokoloff said.

“We talked about increasing awareness, and part of that is helping to normalize certain kinds of experiences or behaviours so people don’t feel as isolated or different than others,” she said.

Through games and open discussions, the fair also focused on interacting with visitors and directly involving them with an experience at each booth.

“Part of the reason why we do this event is to let students know that we have a lot of resources for them on campus,” said Health Promotions coordinator Kristy Colasante.

She said the school’s mental health departments partnered with the School of Social and Community Services to further promote what is available on campus, made timelier in a break-free semester.

“I imagine not having a break would be stressful, for sure,” Colasante said. “We all need to take breaks for self-care. “

From counseling, doctors and on-site nurses at Lakeshore, the college’s mental health services are all covered in each student’s tuition every semester.

Alex Hoffman, an Addictions and Mental Health Program student, said everyone should be mindful of another person’s wellbeing.

“It’s just very important to be aware, be aware of your assumptions, and be aware of your opinions, and be aware that if you’re having trouble, you’re not alone,” Hoffman said.

Laura Zinni, a student who worked at the Healthy Relationships booth, also recommends students approach members of their program around campus.

“This specific ‘cohort’ (generation) of us will be doing placements after this semester so up until then, if you ever see one of us with our Addictions and Mental Health t-shirts on, come say hi,” she said.