George Brown College hosts mental health conference

Students speak at the George Brown College Mental Health Conference on Feb. 27 Photo: Neilia Sherman @neiliasherman on Twitter

Students speak at the George Brown College Mental Health Conference on Feb. 27 Photo: Neilia Sherman @neiliasherman on Twitter

Post-secondary institutions are continuing to explore the idea of healthy campuses. The 15th Annual George Brown College Mental Health Conference on Feb. 27 continued to educate staff, faculty and students on the issues surrounding mental health.

This year was the first year that the conference was held at the Waterfront campus.

“I think it has been really exciting to see so many staff and faculty and students from across Ontario institutions come together to talk about other campuses,” said Kathryn Semogas, campaign co-ordinator for the George Brown College mental health initiative. “I feel like there was a lot of energy in the room, with people sharing their personal stories.”

Designed around mental health and student success, the one-day conference, along student panelists, keynote speaker and moderator Jonny Morris from the Canadian Mental Health Association’s B.C. division, helped educate attendees on how they can all help make post-secondary institutions healthy campuses.

The supported education workshop at the conference discussed the transition to post-secondary education (TPE) program and was led by a panel of facilitators and professors from the program.

“This program saved my life,” said former TPE student Melissa McCarnan during the supported education workshop.

Open to people who have identified as either having mental health or addiction issues, students in the program gain the skills necessary to academically succeed and find employment.

Talking about the TPE program, Tony Priolo, chair of the School of Work and College Preparation said, “the relationship with the student doesn’t stop after they graduate, we continue to work with them, help them and support them.”

Marilyn McLean, professor at the assaulted women’s and children’s counsellor/advocate program, spoke about the Free to Pee campaign, which aims at providing a safer school environment for students who identify as trans or don’t fit gender stereotypes.

Other workshops that took place at the conference included making success more attainable, what educators and students need to know, and an LGBTQ student workshop.

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George Brown College hosts mental health conference