Laurier’s I Move My Mood sets to improve mental health
Wilfrid Laurier University’s I Move My Mood program is a partnership between the Wellness Centre and the department of athletics and recreation that encourage students to participate in physical activities on campus.
It is designed for students who would benefit from holistic healthcare.
“We want to hook them up with physical activities, and they come in and we have a range of program such as aquatics, group exercise, intramurals, climbing, fitness and dance,” said Taylor Aitken, program coordinator of I Move My Mood. The Brantford campus also has the Hummingbird Project, which hopes to bridge the gap between mental and physical health. The program launched on September 15, 2015 and was modelled after a program called Move Your Mind, which began at the University of Waterloo.
“I went to a conference for recreational professionals in Ontario and I saw a presentation about this, and I wanted to bring this to Laurier,” said Jennifer O’Neill, coordinator for Recreation Programs at the Athletic Complex.
One of the motivations behind the I Move My Mood program is to help students who are having difficulties with how to get physically active.
As physical activity is an important factor in maintaining good mental health, and the program aims to integrate exercise in the daily lives of students, especially during exam and midterm periods.
“We want to help students who are currently attending the Wellness Centre, we are trying to help them deal with stress and anxiety through physical activity,” said O’Neill.
Volunteers in I Move My Mood will market the program through Residence Life dons, who will then give students more information. The Athletic Complex has also promoted the program to those who would benefit most. The program strives to target those who, due to mental illness or struggles with their mental health, experience a difficult time being active.
O’Neill credited the many great volunteers that are passionate and experienced in physical activities.
“We have volunteers who are willing to help out with the program.”