Queen’s University Students Organize Mental Health Awareness Initiative
Campus-wide initiative aims to eradicate mental health stigma
To support mental health and wellness at Queen’s University, students have organized Queen’s Wears Green, designed to help improve student access to available mental health resources and services. A student rally will be held on November 4 from 11 am to 1 pm at the ARC with keynote speakers Brenda Miller, CEO at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Kingston Branch, and Eric Windeler from The Jack Project; and the Queen’s student group Existere.
From October 17 to November 4, 2011, Queen’s Commerce Society Outreach Commissioners will be selling t-shirts campus-wide to raise funds and improve awareness of the mental health services available for students. Queen’s Wears Green aims to be the first campus-wide mental health event organized and implemented solely by students.
“We know that more and more students are dealing with mental health issues at Queen’s and at other universities,” says Queen’s Wears Green organizer, Warren Duncan. “We created this important initiative after the tragic loss of students from suicide last year. We want to do what we can to encourage people to reach out if they are feeling overwhelmed and help reduce the stigma that pervades mental health.”
The proceeds from Queen’s Wears Green will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and The Jack Project to support mental health resources and services. “We know that our society’s negative attitudes and beliefs about mental illness leads to isolation and that this is one of the main obstacles to people reaching out for help,” says Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA. “Mental illness is like many physical illnesses and can be prevented and treated, especially when treatment comes early.”
The organizers have already received over 700 t-shirt orders from groups such as varsity soccer and rugby teams, physiotherapy society students, and Commerce committees. To order t-shirt students should look for Queen’s Wears Green booths set up in the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) and at Goodes Hall, as well as join the Queen’s Wears Green Facebook group and follow the movement on Twitter @QueensWears where sales locations will be announced.
Queen’s Wears Green wants to build on the success of last year’s Queen’s Wears Pink campaign that sold 1,500 shirts in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, and has set a goal of selling over 3,000 mental health t-shirts.