Mental Health Promotion Contest

BPK 340 Summer 2018

Students in the Summer 2018 offering of BPK 340 had the option of entering a contest to formulate an idea for effectively promoting mental health, specifically targeted at BPK students. We had a variety of excellent entries which were adjudicated by the BPK Wellness Committee and Nicole Border from SFU Health Promotion. The tops entries will pitch their ideas to SFU Health Promotion and they may be adopted. Here are the top winners!  Congratulations to all.

First: Artem Iagudaev and Michelle Lam

For many, the difference between the social settings in university and high school is a significant factor of stress. When placed in an environment where students are no longer constantly surrounded by their friends, or where they are required to build up their social network from scratch, many students may find this difficult. SFU currently places a large portion of its focus on aiding first-year students to overcome this struggle, neglecting senior and transferring students. Without a secure network of friendships within the university, a student’s mental health may worsen, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as enhancing their pre-existing mental health conditions.

In order to reduce the possibility of developing mental health conditions due to the absence of social support, this application draws inspiration from popular platforms like Omegle and Tinder to aid students in meeting and developing friendships with like-minded individuals.

Second:  Francisco Alvior and Nicholas Yeoh

Hello! Our names are Francisco (pictured left) and Nick (pictured right). As an SFU student originating from interior BC, Nick has had his fair share of the experiences and struggles of living far away from home. These experiences were the inspiration behind Grocery Gatherings. This is an initiative aimed at students who, like Nick, have uprooted themselves from their network of family and friends to obtain an education at SFU. We propose to take grocery shopping, an activity that is regularly done alone by such students, and to make it a group activity. The gist of it is: bi-weekly grocery runs done as a group, with time allocated for socializing and getting to know each other. We hope that such a program would facilitate relationship-building and enable students to build new peer networks here at SFU. Thank you to Anne-Kristina Arnold and to the Health & Counselling Services team for engaging ourselves and our fellow students in coming up with ideas such as this!

Third: Alia Arslanova; Arshpreet Grewal; Rachel Fradgley

The primary goal of our project is to increase first year BPK students’ mental well-being by facilitating a sense of connectedness within the school community to decrease the stigma behind mental illness. Our strategy is to increase mental health awareness and education by having professors taking 15-20 minutes of the first lecture to discuss coping strategies and resources that are available at SFU. The lecture slides we have made are a format that students are familiar with and include activities that will make it more enjoyable and memorable. Right now, very few professors take the time to address resources for mental well-being within the SFU community. Our multi-faceted approach includes pre/post intervention surveys and services to alleviate some obstacles of going to school events. It is our hope that through education and awareness that BPK students can teach and empower other members of the SFU community to cope effectively and be a part of de-stigmatization of mental health.

Third:  Nicole Cremer, Aaron Pearson, Katie Smolik

The goal of this proposed mental health promotion initiative is to encourage BPK students to get out and be active while meeting new people and forming social bonds, especially during exam periods. Although BPK students are generally active, these healthy habits often go neglected during exam period yet exercise can be a significant protective factor.  We propose a SnapChat platform with the hashtag #bring on finals which sends the message “we feel good and are ready for exams, we have limited our stress and can handle anything that can be thrown at us”. We propose posters with a 1-2 line message with the hashtag that directs students to remember the importance of exercise and leisure activities for their mental health. We also propose including the acronym PLAE (pronounced Play) which stand for Promoting Leisure Activity for Everyone.  We think our initiative will encourage students to associate SFU and BPK with a place for both academia and well-being rather than a source of academic stress.

Supported by BPK, the BPK Wellness Committee and SFU Health Promotions