York University’s ongoing commitment to promote a healthy, inclusive and supportive environment that fosters mental health and well-being among members of the York community will continue on Jan. 27 with events to mark Let’s Talk Day.
A series of events organized by York University’s Mental Health & Wellness Committee will take place throughout the day and will include opportunities for staff, faculty and students to participate.
“This is the fourth year York University has recognized Let’s Talk Day and hosted events to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness for our students, faculty and staff,” says Suzanne Killick, co-chair of York’s Mental Health Steering Group.
The date also marks York University’s Centre for Human Rights’ Inclusion Day Conference – an event open to all that explores the role and advancement of human rights on campus.
There will also be an opportunity for York staff and faculty to hear updates on the University’s Mental Health Framework, with an open forum event planned for the afternoon. York’s comprehensive Mental Health & Wellness commitment is built on three foundational pillars – health and wellness promotion; facilitation of care and support; and collaboration and discussion.
The initiative was developed to support the premise that wellness is a necessary pre-condition to learning and working, and that physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, mental, and cultural and environmental health and learning are interdependent.
York U’s Mental Health Open Forum runs from noon to 1:30pm in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson Building. Those interested in attending should RSVP by Jan. 22.
The event, which will be facilitated by co-chairs of York U’s Mental Health Steering Committee, will share some insights gathered by the committee. Over the past few months, the Mental Health Committee co-chairs have engaged in a number of consultations with various staff-, faculty- and student-specific units/groups across campus. Presently, an independent researcher has been analyzing the data received from these consultations in an effort to gather common themes that help build a mentally healthy campus and inform the University’s Mental Health Framework. Participants will hear some of the findings during this open forum.
“The consultations have been an opportunity to widen the circle of involvement and hear from many voices on why a mental health and wellness strategy is important for York University,” explains Killick, the Mental Health Steering Group co-chair. “As we listened to people’s stories, we were struck by the genuine desire to collectively address the diverse needs of our community and the commitment to making York University a place where learning and work can flourish.”
Also this year, York U’s Let’s Talk Day will feature Puppy Palooza – an opportunity for York community members to visit with and meet therapy dogs.
Puppy Palooza: Wellness Wednesday with Therapy Dogs runs from noon to 1:30pm in Vari Hall and in the Atrium of Scott Library. It will feature therapy dogs from St. John Ambulance.
Visitors can meet with therapy dogs and see first-hand how they can provide emotional support through petting, affection and visits. Therapy dogs are used to help people feel happier. It is noted that in university settings, therapy dogs can help relieve stress.
In addition to these events, managers at York U can participate in a session in the morning.
Accommodating Mental Health in the Workplace runs from 9:30 to 11am in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson Building. RSVP for this event by Jan. 22.
During this event, guest speaker Kate McNeill-Keller, partner with McCarthy Tetrault, will explore the topic of mental health in the workplace. While issues of mental health in the workplace are not new or novel, they continue to present day-to-day challenges for employers, including with respect to the identification and/or disclosure of mental health issues, the management of accommodation requests and the balancing of accommodation against performance management and attendance. Participants will go over the general principles of accommodation and their application to mental health issues.
For more information on Let’s Talk Day, visit yorku.ca/mentalhealth.