Healthy Minds Healthy College

News and Events

Thrive Week Highlights

November 19, 2019

Earlier this month we enjoyed Thrive Week, a time to focus on balance and self-care to promote positive mental health. Our planning group delivered a variety of activities to encourage staff and students to get active, relaxed, connected and creative. Here are some activities that folks enjoyed.

The Paint Party at EDC, featuring Kisa MacIsaac from Power of Painting (and RRC alum).

A nature walk through Chickadee Trail at Birds Hill Provincial Park

A student enjoying a visit from St. John Ambulance therapy dogs. Photo: Gabby Piche

Thrive Ambassador and Business Administration student, Veronica Feliz, helping students and staff sign up for a free massage. Photo: Katlyn Streilein

Registered Massage Therapist, Jason Mathes, helping a student de-stress. Photo: Katlyn Streilein

MC College students providing free manicures and braids. Photo: Sarah Vandale.

A few of the painters from the NDC party with Painting on the Prairies.

There was so much more going on that we didn’t manage to capture through photos. Even many of the regional campuses hosted activities.

We hope everyone who participated in Thrive Week enjoyed a break from the grind of school and work and is inspired to make time for balance and self-care on an ongoing basis.

This week was possible thanks to funding from the Red River College Students’ Association, Human Resource Department and Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative. Big thanks as well to the planning group: Amanda Dorscheid, Beverly Wood, Priyanji Mediwake, Arsalan Zaheer, Carmen McIntosh, Erin Edwards and Breanna Sawatzky.  Student volunteers who served as Thrive Ambassadors were a huge help.

Stay tuned for more Thrive style events in the new year.

Boosting Mental Health Can be a Walk in the Park

November 5, 2019

A walking path through Birds Hill Park

Being active in nature is great for your mental health. When the seasons change and the temperatures drop, we tend to stay inside more. Getting out for some fresh air and movement (even just walking), before the January deep freeze, can be really helpful.

This is why, for Thrive Week, we’re heading for a nature walk at Birds Hill Park.

All students and staff are invited; we have a bus chartered to transport us all.

To join the nature walk, simply email Breanna to reserve a seat on the bus. Meet us at the Notre Dame Campus bus loop at 10am Saturday, November 9th. The bus will return us to the same place at 2pm.

We’ll spend some time bird watching, walking through the trails, and enjoying some hot chocolate.

According to Manitoba Sustainable Development, this park is “a mosaic of landscapes not commonly found in such close association, such as esker ridges, dry prairie, wet meadows, bogs, and aspen-oak and mixed boreal forest communities.” 

Dress for the weather and pack some water and a snack. Family members are welcome.

Date: Saturday, November 9

Location: Meet at the Notre Dame Campus Bus Loop

Pick up time: 10am

Drop off time: 2pm

Contact: Breanna Sawatzky

 

Thrive Week Activities at EDC

October 28, 2019

Thrive Week, November 4-9,  is a time to focus on the importance of balance and self-care in developing positive mental health that supports success in learning and working.

We invite you to take a moment to do something that gets you active, creative, connected or relaxed – whatever it is you need for balance. All events are free and open to students and staff.

Exchange District Campus

Monday, November 4

Therapy Dogs
11:30am – 1pm in the Atrium
Come relax and pet a sweet, calm therapy dog.

Tuesday, November 5

Mental Health Workshop 
11:30am – 1:00pm in P107
Join educators from Klinic to explore the topic of mental health. Snacks provided.

Wednesday, November 6

Mindfulness Workshop
noon – 1pm in the Gym
Join Mario DeNegri to explore mental strategies for focus and peace.

Paint Party with Power of Painting
4pm – 6:30pm in the Dining Hall
Follow step-by-step instructions and a creative touch to your very own canvas.
Email blsawatzky@rrc.ca to save a prime seat, or just show up. Spaces limited. Snacks provided.

Thursday, November 7

Fresh Fruit and Resource Table
11am – 1pm in the Atrium
Grab a healthy snack and learn about mental health and wellness resources.

Yoga
4:15 – 5:15 pm in P107
Stretch, breathe and move your way to balance.

Friday, November 8

Braid and Manicure Bar
9am – 2pm in the Library Hallway
MC College students will help you relax as they pamper your hair and nails. First come, first served.

Thrive Week Activities at NDC

October 28, 2019

Thrive Week, November 4-9,  is a time to focus on the importance of balance and self-care in developing positive mental health that supports success in learning and working.

We invite you to take a moment to do something that gets you active, creative, connected or relaxed – whatever it is you need for balance. All events are free and open to students and staff.

For information on activities at the Exchange District Campus, click here.

Notre Dame Campus

Adult Colouring and Jigsaw Puzzle Station
All Day | Everyday
Library

Monday, November 4

Massage Therapy
9am – 2pm
Library Hall
Enjoy a 10 minute massage from a registered massage therapist.
The sign-up sheet to book your massage time opens at 8:30 am.

Yoga
4:15-5:15 pm in the South Gym
Stretch, breathe and move your way to balance.

Tuesday, November 5

Therapy Dogs
11:30am – 1pm in the Cave Lounge
Come relax and pet a sweet, calm therapy dog.

Paint Party with Painting on the Prairies
4 – 6:30pm in the Cave Lounge
Follow step-by-step instructions and add a creative touch to your very own canvas.
Email blsawatzky@rrc.ca to save a prime seat, or just show up. Spaces limited. Snacks provided.

Wednesday, November 6

Comedy Show with Big Daddy Taz
noon – 1pm in the Cave Lounge. Snacks provided.
Share some laughs over lunch.

Board Game Night
4 – 6pm in the Cave Lounge. Snacks provided.
Thursday
Come alone or with friends to play a favorite board game or learn a new one.

Thursday, November 7

Smoothies and Resource Table
8 – 10am in the Library Hall
Use the bike blender to make yourself a healthy snack.

Zen Zone
9am – 2pm in the Cave Lounge
Enjoy calm music and relaxing activities while the Cave is transformed into a spa-like space.

Braid and Manicure Bar
9am – 2pm in the Library Hallway
MC College students will help you relax as they pamper your hair and nails. First come, first served.

Friday, November 8

Mindfulness Workshop
noon – 1pm in the North Gym
Join Mario DeNegri to explore mental strategies for focus and peace.

Saturday, November 9

Nature Walk Through Birds Hill Park
10am – 2pm
Meet at the NDC bus loop to catch our chartered bus. Family members are welcome. Please email blsawatzky@rrc.ca to register.

 

Want to tell your mental health story? Get in touch today!

October 1, 2019

We’re looking for a student who attends either the Notre Dame Campus or the Exchange District Campus to participate in a panel discussion at our upcoming Movies for Mental Health event. Click here for details about the event. You will be given a $40 honorarium for your time.

By volunteering your time and expertise, you play a crucial role in creating an event that will reduce the stigma around mental illness and encourage others to seek the help they need.

Being a Student Panelist

As a student panelist, your role is to share a real, lived-experience story to show the power that live storytelling can have in reducing mental health stigmas. Your generosity in talking about your experiences – the good parts and the bad – is actively helping your peers to overcome their own inhibitions that might prevent them from getting help. You are living, breathing proof that recovery and healing are possible and that mental wellness is real and attainable!

As you begin to put together your five-minute story, we invite you to reflect on what your main message is – what you’d like the audience to take away from your story. That can help guide you as you decide what you’d like to share. It can also be helpful to decide what pieces of your story, if any, you’d prefer not to share. You are in charge of what you share, and there is no pressure to go beyond what is comfortable for you.

If you’re interested in this opportunity, please contact Breanna today.

Wellness Weekly: Curated Readings

October 1, 2019

 

In our Wellness Weekly, mental health roundup feature we curate some of the best writing on the web related to health and wellbeing. Here is some recommended reading for this week.

Food and Mood

Ever wonder if a certain eating pattern is best for your mental health? When we make everyday food choices, many of us think first of our physical health and appearance. But there’s another factor we may want to consider in picking foods: their impact on our mental health. Read What Is The Best Diet for Mental Health by Kira M. Newman.

Creative Hobbies

If you’ve been trying to get a little more mindfulness in your life, whipping up a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies might be exactly what you need. Read more about how Research Suggests Taking Up Baking Can Help You Feel Better by Gwen Moran.

Stress and Memory

You spend weeks studying for an important test. On the big day, you wait nervously as your teacher hands it out. You’re working your way through, when you’re asked to define “ataraxia.” You know you’ve seen the word before, but your mind goes blank. What just happened? Elizabeth Cox details the complex relationship between stress and memory in her Ted-Ed animation: The Surprising Link Between Stress and Memory.

 

Have a favorite health and wellness related read that you think we should feature? Send it over to Breanna.

Climate change and mental health: the intersections

September 24, 2019

With the upcoming General Strike for Climate Action happening at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Friday, September 27th, climate change is top of mind for many people. RRC’s Sustainability Office is marking the occasion in several ways.

Given this timing, it’s fitting to examine how mental health and climate change are connected. Once we take a look, there are indeed several ways that climate change affects mental health.

First, natural disasters place increased strain on people living in areas affected by droughts, floods, forest fires, hurricanes and the like. The trauma caused by these events increases risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While not everyone exposed to the trauma develops a disorder, when a whole community is affected by such a disaster, there will certainly be an increased demand for mental health services and a disruption to the community as a whole.

In addition, many people experience climate change related grief in response to experienced or anticipated loss of natural environments. Lakes, land, forests, and other natural environments help us develop a sense of place and are key settings in which we build good mental health. The grief related to losing these is very real and impacts a person’s well-being.

Yet another way in which climate change affects mental health is through climate anxiety: worry and fear related to the consequences of climate change. Many people can be concerned, even very concerned, about climate change while still functioning well in their lives. For some, however, this anxiety can become intense and lead to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, intense anger, inability to continue with daily activities and even thoughts of suicide.

If you are feeling this extreme form of climate anxiety, please reach out for support. Students can connect with RRC Counselling Services or use the student benefits plan to connect with a therapist in the community. Staff can reach out to our Employee and Family Assistance Program.

For anyone whose mental health is affected by climate change, it can be helpful to participate in direct positive action and to be around others who understand your concerns. So, check out the activities that the Sustainability Office has planned and get involved.

References:

Lewis, J. (2018). In the Room With Climate Anxiety PART 1. Psychiatric Times, 35(11), 1–2.

Focus on climate change and mental health. (2018). Nature Climate Change,(4), 259-259. 

Movies for Mental Health: Join Us!

September 19, 2019

On October 8 and 9 RRC is hosting Movies for Mental Health, an interactive workshop that uses the emotional power of short film to initiate dialogue with students on the topic of mental health. This FREE event is delivered by a non-profit called Art With Impact and will be hosted at both the Notre Dame and Exchange District campuses.

This peer-to-peer learning event is two hours long and features:

  • free pizza lunch for all who attend the workshop,
  • facilitated discussion,
  • three short films from Art With Impact’s library, and
  • a resource panel with campus and community services.

Join us in creating a healthy environment at RRC through dialogue and growth!

Last year, students who attended found the workshop helped increase awareness of mental health, reduce stigma, and improve knowledge about where to go for help.

Wednesday, October 9, 11am – 1pm in room P107 The Roblin Centre at Exchange District Campus

Tuesday, October 8, 1-3pm in the White Lecture Theatre at Notre Dame Campus.

For any questions or accessibility needs, please contact Breanna Sawatzky.

This event is sponsored by the Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative and RRC Students’ Association as we observe Mental Illness Awareness Week. All students and staff are welcome.

Want to Improve Mental Health on Campus? We’re Searching for Student Volunteers!

September 3, 2019

Rakeshkumar Patel, Nursing Student and Thrive Ambassador

Are you a student who is looking for service learning opportunities? Want to contribute to a healthier campus community? We’re searching for students who can devote ten hours to our Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative.

All hours will be on campus with plenty of training and support. Students will use and enhance a variety of skills in the roles of:

  • Resource Promoter
  • Thrive Week Ambassador
  • Advisory Group Member

To learn more about these opportunities, please attend the Volunteer Information and Orientation Session on Tuesday, September 24, from 12:05 – 12:50 in the ETV studio (GM33).

Can’t make it in person? Catch the livestream. Time doesn’t work for you? Contact Breanna for a recording of the session or with any questions.

Come work with us to improve mental health at RRC!

Check out the detailed position descriptions and anticipated schedule of service here: HMHC Volunteer Info

Wellness Weekly: Curated Readings

August 27, 2019

In our Wellness Weekly, mental health roundup feature we curate some of the best writing on the web related to health and wellbeing. Here is some recommended reading for this week.

Making Friends

NPR notes that the act of making and being a friend is as simple as it is difficult. They spoke with experts to help find ways to make new friends, as well as to take better care of the friendships you already have. Read Accept The Awkwardness: How To Make Friends by Julia Furlan.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Are you trying to save money on food? Get the school year off to a healthy start by planning your meals for the next few days or week ahead. It takes a bit of time, but it will help you save money later. The Dieticians of Canada has Ten Tips for Planning Meals on a Budget.

Dealing with Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can feel terrifying in the moment. Managing your thoughts and behaviours can go along way toward reducing the frequency and intensity of panic symptoms as well as how much they interfere with your life. Over on the Anxiety Canada blog, Dr. Melanie Badali shares 5 Tips for Dealing with Panic Attacks – The BRAVE Way.