Increasing Awareness, Education Goal of Mental Health Day

March 02, 2012 - News Release

The University of Guelph will hold a “mental health day” March 8 to raise awareness and understanding of the issue.

A T-shirt campaign, panel discussion, mental health training session, self-care events and resource fair have been organized by students with help from U of G’s Centre for Students With Disabilities and Office of Student Affairs.

“Mental health is a growing issue and concern on university campuses,” said Bruno Mancini, director of Counselling and Disability Services. “The goal is to draw attention to the issue and better educate individuals about mental health.”

Student organizer Shannon Stach said dedicating a day to mental health awareness is important. “University is a time that can be very difficult for some students. Depression and anxiety are two of the highest mental illnesses students may experience, but most of them do not get help. Some people may not be aware they are experiencing a mental challenge, and others may not realize they can get help.”

Stach, now completing her B.A.Sc. in adult development, families and well-being, has battled depression for years and hopes that speaking out will encourage others to seek assistance.

“We are trying to raise awareness and reach out to students to show that there is support on campus and within the community. These individuals are not alone in their struggles, and it is important that they get help.”

Organizers invite U of G students, faculty and staff to wear specially designed “One-in-Five” T-shirts that day. That’s the proportion of Canadians who will experience a mental health challenge in any given year. To order a T-shirt, call Ext. 53244.

There will be booths set up in various campus buildings to promote self-awareness of good mental health.

The panel discussion on mental health awareness will feature Stach and other U of G students along with Eric Windeler, founder of the Jack Project at Kids Help Phone, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Rozanski Hall, Room 103.

Windeler, a Toronto businessman, and his wife, Sandra Hanington, an engineer and financial executive, founded the Jack Project after their son took his life in 2010 in his first year at Queen’s University. The project aims to support youths with mental illness moving from high school to college, university or independent living. Studies show most mental illnesses begin during the late teens.

The project is also intended to remove the stigma around mental illness and to encourage discussion and support among teens, parents and teachers.

For Stach, speaking out and taking part in campus activities has helped. “I feel confident sharing my story here in Guelph. Getting involved within the University community has really made me feel like I am at the school for a greater purpose than to just get a degree.”

More information about mental health day is available online via a student Facebook page.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1