Mental Health at Laurier’s Forefront on “Blue Monday”

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Graphic by Jamie Mere

Monday, Jan. 20 was the day known worldwide as “Blue Monday,” dubbed the most depressing day of the year.

This year, Laurier Alumni put together a full day of events to help students, faculty, staff and alumni find coping mechanisms and healthy ways to improve both mental and physical well-being.

“Laurier’s community is a point of pride for alumni; it was important to me that when the Alumni Relations team created the Blue Monday program that we honoured the community spirit felt worldwide by making programming available at each campus as well as online, so no matter where you were you could be a part of the day,” said Brittany Russell, alumni relations officer, chapters and regional programming for Laurier Alumni in an email statement.

“Supporting one another is what our community does best and I am so happy that we were all able to come together to support one another and share the expertise of our alumni, as we all work together to make each other’s days a little brighter.”

Events put on during the day included meditation, yoga, art projects, smudging, advice sessions on relationships with alcohol and webinars in coaching and workplace management.

This was the first year that the Blue Monday event took place on all campuses, including Milton, Kitchener and Toronto campuses as well as Waterloo and Brantford.

Supporting one another is what our community does best and I am so happy that we were all able to come together to support one another and share the expertise of our alumni, as we all work together to make each other’s days a little brighter.

– Brittany Russell, alumni relations officer, chapters and regional programming for Laurier Alumni

Laurier Alumni also had online resources available beyond webinars for anyone to download if they were not able to attend a session.

“I think it’s great to have all the events throughout the campuses just to encourage students and alumni to get together and come out especially when it’s about things that revolve around wellness and mental health all in one day, especially in the winter,” said Megan Moore, alumni officer at Laurier’s Toronto office.

“With multiple campuses, being able to reach more than just students, being able to reach alumni as well in different areas, a lot of people don’t live somewhere like Toronto but they work here so people came literally just down the elevator to come to the meditation session.”

The events were all hosted by fellow Laurier alumni who shared personal stories and tips and tricks with coping with mental health issues as well as becoming physically healthy as well.

“I’m not an expert, but I am a fellow Laurier alumni looking for answers on how to understand what self-care means to me and how I can offer support,” Russell continued in an email statement.

“My teammates and I reached out to alumni experts about what we could offer as mental health tools and I’d like to invite you to take part in the result.”

Though wellness initiatives are a priority throughout the year at Laurier with different departments hosting events like Thrive Week or mental health talks, the point of these Blue Monday events is to have the conversation about mental health on a day globally known for being depressing.

“It really felt like what we were doing was ‘bigger than ourselves’ — like the whole Laurier community was coming together to support each other,” said Derek Szilagyi, alumni relations officer for the Brantford campus in an email statement.

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