Mental Health Week kicks off at UPEI

Chris Gregory
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Dana Kenny, a fourth year modern languages student, de-stresses in a ball pit during UPEI Mental Health Week 2016. A full schedule of activities and events will take place through out the week.

Kaylee Blackett knows first hand that student life can be a tough.

The family science major at UPEI says she, like other students, struggle with balancing everything that comes with being a young adult at university.

It’s easy for some students to fall victim to the student life and struggle to cope on a day-to-day basis, she said.

“You’re basically set up for failure. It’s tough when you have so much coming at you.”

But Blackett has found ways, through extracurricular events and other activities, to make connections and deal with the struggles of being a student.

“Whenever you’re a student, that’s your profession but student life is so much more than that,” she said.

Blackett is part of the planning committee for UPEI’s fourth annual Mental Health Week, which kicked off Monday.

She says it’s important that everyone gets involved with everything going on through the week ahead.

“You need to make those connections because it can really help you.”

The theme for the week is ‘relationship matters’ and for Lewis Page, UPEI men’s soccer coach and keynote speaker at the kick-off event Monday afternoon, the relationship he has developed with himself was the most important one.

Page says he went through long stretches of depression. But with the help of therapy and important relationships with his children and his friends, he has come out on top.

“I felt trapped, hopeless and afraid of what my life had become,” he said.

People seeking professional help, like Page did, shouldn’t be looked at negatively, he said. A week like this can help change the conversation.

“We need to change the conversation from ‘He’s crazy because he’s in therapy,’ to ‘He’s crazy because he’s not in therapy.’”

Haley Doherty is the residence life coordinator at UPEI and co-chair of UPEI’s mental health week.

She says there’s no doubt that being a student is challenging and stressful, but with the right help, everyone is capable of fighting and no one should ever be scared to ask for help.

“We all have our ups and downs. We’ve all seen success, and we’ve all seen challenges…but we’re a community and you are not alone here. That’s what the week is about.”

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