Jared Dodds, News Reporter
A short four-kilometre walk around Humber’s Lakeshore campus could have life-long implications for people’s well-being.
The sixth annual Mental Health Awareness Run and Walk on Wednesday, part of the college’s month-long mental health awareness campaign, was not a fundraiser but instead a chance to raise awareness for mental health issues.
The four-kilometre trek around the Lakeshore campus, jointly organized by the Department of Athletics and Recreation and the Office of the Principal, had 141 staff and students preregistered.
Kavelle Maharaj, the event coordinator and event liaison for the Office of the Principal, said the run was a yearly event that staff and students always look forward to participating in.
“It’s an opportunity for us to actually get people up and running and outside to address some of the challenges we have with mental health,” she said. “Just get that talk and conversation going.”
Mental health awareness on post-secondary campuses is more important than ever, with a report from Ontario Universities titled, “Ensuring a Whole-of-Community Approach to Mental Health,” stating identifiable mental health problems have “more than doubled over the past five years.”
The same report found that 46 per cent of post secondary students said they were “too depressed to fully function,” a six per cent rise from 2013.
Nathania Bron, the Fitness and Recreation Coordinator in Athletics at Lakeshore, thinks that stats like these are why it’s important the conversation about mental health keeps happening.
“Humber takes it as a priority, and we understand that not just our students and staff, but everyone deals with mental health issues year-round,” she said. “You can be quite proud working for an institution that makes this a priority.”
The run is part of Mental Health Awareness month Humber is holding with other events including the pop-up green space in the L Building at the Lakeshore campus.
Humber is also running tours of the historical tunnels in honour of mental health. The Lakeshore campus used to house the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, and the tours will explore the treatment of its patients in the hospital’s 89-year history.
Humber will also be holding Mindmap: A Mental Health Summit at the Lakeshore Campus on Oct. 16.
Bron said Humber holding so many different events are important to the success of mental health month.
“I think the decision to make it a month-long thing is to open it up for it to be accessible for different events to connect with different people,” she said. “It’s a proud moment and I’m glad its something we all get to participate in.”
As for the run itself, participants were excited to get themselves outside and moving while raising awareness for such a good cause.
Julian Klimczyk, a Digital Content Creator for Humber College who was participating for his second year, said the event was one of the highlights of the month.
“This event is important,” he said. “This event is something we’ve done for many years in a row, so we want to continue that trend and make sure that people know it’s not only important to me personally but Humber as a whole.
“There is an increased importance on mental health not only worldwide but especially here at Humber,” Klimczyk said. “Most people would agree that it’s something that’s important not only to the individual but as a community it makes everyone live in a happier and healthier society.”