With the extended toll the current pandemic has placed on the world, Bell Let’s Talk Day (Wednesday, January 26th) has taken on increased significance.

The importance of mental health and the conversations surrounding mental health and self-care have never been more important, especially for students who are trying to navigate through the added stressors of isolation, distancing, rapid testing while juggling academic commitments and often work schedules.

For Brynn Hanson, Registered Provisional Psychologist at St. Mary’s University, days like Bell Let’s Talk are important because it works to overcome the stigma attached to mental illness.

“Mental health affects us all, and having this dedicated day works towards moving the conversation forward,” said Hanson.

“Breaking down the stigma, and increasing advocacy is an ever going need. We can all work to reduce this stigma by talking openly about mental illness, educating yourself and others, being conscious  of language, and choosing empowerment over shame. Now more than ever, with the impact of Covid-19, students are experiencing increasing feelings of isolation, concern, anxiety, and frustration. There are constant changes, challenges for everyone, and students are losing out on many important aspects of the post-secondary experience.”

“At St.Mary’s, we want our students to be supported in the best ways possible, so we have provided students with access to on campus counselling services (counselling@stmu.ca), online access to Togetherall (www.togetherall.com), and a seminar on Wellness in a Pandemic to provide support and understanding for our students.”

If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental health illness, know you are not alone. There are resources both on and off our campus, including access to counsellors, online access to Togetherall, Alberta’s Mental Health Help Line (1-877-303-2642), and 24-Hour Support Through the Distress Centre (403-266-4357).