Red Deer College encouraging positive mental health practices

For two weeks, Red Deer College is encouraging positive mental health practices when some students need it the most, the dead of winter.

The campaign, a joint effort between the college’s athletic department, residence and student association, encourages people to share healthy methods of managing stress.

Until Jan. 27, individuals are invited to show how they take time to manage their mental health using the hashtag #TakeSomeTimeRDC. The college will share these tips through their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“It will show what strategies we do as students and staff to de-stress,” said Taz Kassam, Red Deer College student life and recreation manager. “It can be anything from taking part in our fitness classes or our meditation courses, recreation, dog therapy sessions for students in residence.

“It really is simple, it could be going for a walk, reading a book, engaging in conversation with another friend.”

The College participates in the Make Some Noise for Mental Health campaign, which is recognized across the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference and across Canada. The awareness campaign is an initiative to break the stigma surrounding mental health on campus, started by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Trojans.

Red Deer’s campaign will be promoted at Kings and Queens basketball games on Jan. 27, starting at 6 p.m. at the college gymnasium, and the Kings Hockey game on Jan. 28, starting at 7 p.m. at the Penhold Multiplex.

Denise St-Denis, RDC Athletic Director talked with some colleagues about the need to find something meaningful to their campus and more than the one-off event Make Some Noise.

“I wanted it to have a longer shelf-life,” said St-Denis. “What if we had people share what they do to take care of their mental health? Rather then spend a lot of time discussing how we address the issue of those who have mental health, lets re-enforce the positive practice that anybody could implement to manage their mental health in a positive way.”

While encouraging positive mental health practices in January can help people in the middle of winter, establishing these practices can help students come exam time in April.

“Now’s the time for individuals to learn about best practices so they can put them into place so when they get to the time when they are really anxious or stressed, they already have those good practices in their tool belt,” said St-Denis.

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