Fun Mental Health Wellness Events at Trinity
by Andrea Rentel, Trin Life Column
University is an incredibly exciting time full of new experiences and opportunities. However, the dramatic change and hectic schedules that come with being a student may also bring difficult challenges. It’s normal for students to feel stressed and lonely during the school year. Undergraduates often get swept up in their studies, making it challenging to balance self-care with academic excellence. Many of us push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, exerting ourselves every day. There are social pressures to make friends, go on dates, and engage in nightlife. We want to form professional connections, excel in class, and land that internship. Many of us are also living away from our parents for the first time, and navigating the beginnings of adult life can be overwhelming when we have to pay rent, do our taxes, and work. Reminding ourselves that we’re doing well with all these new pressures and workloads tends to become an afterthought when it feels like there is so much to do, leading to loneliness and stress. It may even falsely appear that everyone else is able to happily juggle all of their responsibilities. However, feelings of loneliness and stress are extremely common among university students. Trinity College and the University of Toronto support students’ emotional well-being through their advisors, wellness events, and mental health resources.
The Mental Health Peer Advisors (MHPA) are a team of upper-year Trinity students who organize wellness events and offer guidance for connecting to professional resources. They work as members of the Office of the Dean of Students to bridge the gap between the student body and mental health services at Trinity and UofT. According to a current MHPA, “the program is getting revamped because it’s super vague and has a misleading title. MHPAs aren’t actually allowed to give any mental health advice or counselling. Our purpose is to support mental well-being with social events and education.”However, Mental Health Peer Advisors are also tasked with organizing events “with absolutely no mental health component. The Trin administration allocates random tasks to us,” like “the food truck event is run by the MHPAs.”
Among the wellness-focused events organized by the Mental Health Peer Advisors was ‘Paws for Wellness,’ in which therapy dogs were brought to campus. A Bob Ross Paint Night, designed to help students de-stress, was also held in Melinda Seaman at St. Hildas. A student attendee shared that they liked how relaxed the event felt. “Personally, I grew up doing art as well so it was nice being able to bring that part of me out again amongst the stress of school and midterms. It gave me a chance to see some of my friends in a context outside of studying, which helped rejuvenate some of my energy.”
Other wellness resources are available to Trinity students in addition to MHPAs. Trinity’s wellness space, the Abbott Room in St. Hilda’s, is open for students to relax and socialize. The Abbott Room also hosts weekly events and programs. Overall, students do not have to feel stuck in the cycle of school; resources and programs like these are there as support, relaxation, and fun—maybe going forward, keep an eye out for the mental health wellness events sent to your UTmailbox and see if any of those sound like a good break for you!