Yukon University roundabout entrance in Whitehorse on Jan. 28. Another $50,000 in funding has been announced for an integrated mental health and wellness strategy being developed for students and staff at Yukon University. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon University roundabout entrance in Whitehorse on Jan. 28. Another $50,000 in funding has been announced for an integrated mental health and wellness strategy being developed for students and staff at Yukon University. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Work continues on YukonU mental health and wellness strategy

Draft document expected in the fall

Another $50,000 in funding has been announced for the integrated mental health and wellness strategy being developed for students and staff at Yukon University.

In a Jan. 27 announcement, Yukon University said it received $50,000 from the Bell Let’s Talk diversity fund to go towards the development of the strategy.

The funding is part of a total $1 million in grants being distributed by Bell Let’s Talk for various groups across the country.

“We’re grateful to the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund for supporting the development and implementation of our new Mental Health and Wellness Strategy, including enhancements to our wellness facilities and programs,” said Dr. Maggie Matear, YukonU’s interim president and vice-chancellor. “This project really puts the focus on student wellness. We hope that our renewed focus on understanding the diverse experiences of our multi-cultural community will allow more employees to support students and one another.”

The strategy was announced in December with an initial $100,000 in funding coming from RBC.

An employee committee is working to get feedback from students, elders and staff and identify best practices from other universities before bringing forward a draft strategy in the fall.

Jan. 28 marked Bell Let’s Talk Day, aimed at promoting dialogue and awareness about mental health with funds raised from shared texts, social media shares and views of the Bell’s Let’s Talk Day video raising funds for mental health programs.

Both YukonU and the City of Whitehorse also raised a flag to mark the day with the city proclaiming Jan. 28 as Bell Let’s Talk Day in the city.

Throughout the week, YukonU hosted a number of online and physically distanced events to highlight mental health and wellness, including daily Zoom sessions for participants that were focused on meditation and stress relief, light exercise, music and pets.

Jan. 28 also saw the university host an in-person, distanced campfire at the Ayamdigut campus in Whitehorse.

“Connecting with one another has become so much more important as we deal with the challenges of COVID-19,” YukonU student engagement team leader Meaghen Kimmitt said. “Bell Let’s Talk Day is an important reminder to check in with those you care about and have direct conversations about how they and you are really doing. Taking that moment to listen and really care makes such a difference.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Yukon University

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