On the evening of October 16, 2019, UBCO’s Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy Club, known as MHAAC, hosted their first Mental Health Conversations event.

This event featured a guest speaker who shed light on important lessons about self-care and wellness by discussing his own mental health journey. The speaker, Daniel Honke from BCSS Kelowna, gracefully held the attention of the audience by opening up about his most personal challenges and triumphs.

This speech was followed up by two MHAAC members who held a presentation on mental health stigma with emphasis on how it negatively affects people living with mental illness.

All of the topics discussed at this event were applicable to everyone regardless of whether they live with a mental illness themselves or know someone who is struggling and want to be able to support them. Below were some of the lessons that could’ve been taken away from this event.

First, finding a support system is important, especially for students who live far away from home or those who do not have strong family relationships.

Second, healing is not a linear process and often comes with many ups and downs. Adapting and gaining new healthy coping techniques is part of the healing journey.

Third, not all resources are helpful to everyone. There are many mental health resources available to students, but finding the right one may take some trial and error.

Lastly, mental health stigma is still a big reason why people who are struggling won’t seek help. Being thoughtful about word choice and not perpetuating stereotypes about mental illness are both important in crushing stigma.

For more mental health advice and insights like those mentioned above, check out MHAAC’s Instagram to be notified about their next event in the Mental Health Conversations series.