Laurier celebrates Bell Let’s Talk week

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From Jan. 23-30 on Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus, Bridging the Gap is collaborating with jack.org to raise awareness about mental health during a week-long event called Bell Let’s Talk Week.

The purpose of Bell Let’s Talk week is to raise awareness, explain campus mental health resources, host events, engage with students at their booth in the concourse as well as continue a discussion surrounding mental health.

“Throughout the week there are a bunch of booths in the concourse. Our goal is to be active with people and engage them in conversation. We’re also going to have colouring pages and stress balls for people, things that people can use for mindfulness and to de-stress. Our goal is to get the word out about Laurier Let’s Talk Week, which is on Wednesday the 25,” Ashley Siegel, vice-president of diversity initiatives, said.

Siegel explained that although Bridging the Gap isn’t as well-known to the Laurier student body, the club offers various resources that will become useful to the Laurier community.

Bridging the Gap’s mission is to provide resources to students, not just during Bell Let’s Talk week, but all year-round. 

There are lots of individuals at Bridging the Gap who have suffered with mental illness and know the resources.

– Ashley Siegel, vice-president of diversity initiatives

“There are lots of individuals at Bridging the Gap who have suffered with mental illness and know the resources on campus. We can explain to people that these are the exact steps you can take to guide people,” Siegel said.

Ultimately, the club wants people to know that they are working for the students to make resources as accessible as possible.

Bridging the Gap will be hosting events throughout Bell Let’s Talk Week to encourage students to de-stress and talk about mental health, whether it’s to share their own personal experiences or perspective on mental health.

“Throughout the week there will be a bunch of booths in the concourse, [Bridging the Gap’s] goal is to be active with people and engage them in conversation. We also will have colouring pages and stress balls. [These] are things that people can use for mindfulness and to de-stress … Tuesday were hoping to have a Let’s Taco About It event where we have tacos.”

Siegel also explained that on Wednesday Jan. 25, which is Bell Let’s Talk day, there will be special activities taking place to increase mindfulness and enhance the discussion of mental health on campus.

“Wednesday in the morning, we are having a yoga event which will lead to a speak-up event, which is an open floor for people to share their experiences with mental illness and share their story. There will be a mental health nurse present at this event in case people feel triggered,” Siegel said.

Bridging the Gap has now fundraised over $1,000 for Grand River Hospital’s mental health initiatives. However, the main goal of the Bell Let’s Talk week is to make sure students know they aren’t alone and there’s a club on campus to help them.

“We want people to know about these resources and that if your mental health is really poor you can get a note from the Wellness Centre and you don’t need to write your exam that day,” Siegel said.

“There are a lot of people at the Wellness Centre and professors who are understanding about it. You don’t have to deal with it in silence.”

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