A Message To Our Community On Bell Let's Talk Day

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day, an annual initiative that takes aim at bringing action for mental health to the forefront.

As a college, we recognize and prioritize the health and wellness of our community. We are also home to a range of research aimed at better understanding and improving life, one of the University of Guelph’s core missions.

This has been an especially challenging time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the collective wellbeing of our students, staff, faculty and greater CBS community. But we hope you know we are thinking of you, planning for you, and taking action.

“As the pandemic continues and stress and fatigue have increased, it’s important to understand that you are not alone,” says Dr. Maz Fallah, dean of the college. “Give yourself and others some slack, and do not hesitate to reach out for support. We can get through this together.”

Our leadership and instructors are having meaningful discussions on how to better support the growing concerns around people’s wellbeing. Efforts to demonstrate this support are ongoing, including simplifying access to labs, consciously reducing email communications, improving online instruction, and allocating more resources behind additional teaching assistants whenever possible.

“We understand that the college is the people, the people are the college,” said Ryan Gregory, Professor and Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology. “Any of our research, teaching, anything we value – is all dependent on people who are healthy and well. Therefore supporting them is critical for recovery and growth. We have to put people first.”

These efforts are reflected in our academic programming. The newly created Pandemics: Culture, Science and Society course, open to current students and alumni, shares an interdisciplinary approach to better understanding a global trauma such as we are currently facing.

“It involves a lot of connection and discussion around how different perspectives have been impacted,” says Gregory.

CBS is a foundational partner of U of G’s One Health Institute, an initiative that speaks to the fundamental understanding and practice that human, animal and nature’s health and wellbeing are interconnected. Our college is currently formulating an undergraduate program that will introduce students to this interdisciplinary line of thought and study.

CBSSC, our college student council, have also demonstrated creative ways to lend additional supports to CBS students. They have removed student fees for the Winter 2021 semester and created a grant to alleviate financial hardships during the pandemic.

If you need help, please reach out to your community for support. We also urge you to make use of U of G’s Student Wellness Centre, which provides health and wellbeing support services to students and to the campus community. The SHINE initiative also provides year-round campus resources, support groups, trainings, a podcast and more.

To learn more about Bell Let’s Talk Day, visit their website.

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