UBCO and Canada West members host a pre-game event in partnership with Bell Let’s Talk.

In the lead up to Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 30, Canada West members and student-athletes will take on a leadership role to raise mental awareness through an event on January 25 before weekend series between the Heat Women’s Basketball and the Victoria Vikes.

Since its operation in 2010, the initiative has raised nearly $100 million for mental health services across Canada through mental health talk events.

“Having conversations with our student-athletes about mental health and fighting the stigma around mental illness is important to Canada West. We are proud to be part of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative and its positive impact on students and their communities across the country.”,” said Rocky Olfert, Managing Director of Canada West.

Beginning in 2017, the Canada West organizations have been part of Bell’s mental health initiative, hosting Bell Let’s Talk events to generate awareness for mental health on campuses through the power of university sports.

This year, as a member in the Canada West conference, UBCO is selected as one of the many universities across Western Canada to initiate the talk event in order to raise awareness on issues related to mental health.

According to the most recent National College Health Assessment Survey in 2016, 32% of students were diagnosed or treated for anxiety or depression in the previous year.

In January 2018, Bell Let’s Talk and The Rossy Foundation proclaimed a joint $1,000,000 donation to create a national standard for student mental health. The project will establish better practices in Canadian campuses to support students with mental health related issues.

“With more than 200 universities and colleges part of the campaign this year, it’s clear that post-secondary students in Canada have taken a real leadership role in the mental health conversation,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. Deacon added, “These hundreds of student-led initiatives are growing awareness on both the impact of mental illness and the resources students can turn to for support, helping to ensure a psychologically healthy and safe environment on campus.”

Students are encouraged to participate in the talk show event. Additionally, the basketball series match between the Heat and the Vikes will start after the event.