Launch of new Peer Support Space and Wellness Peer Program transforms mental health services at Brescia University College

Media Release
September 16, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

London, ON – A new approach to student mental health and wellness will be piloted at Brescia University College this fall, with the launch of the University’s new Peer Support Space and Wellness Peer Program. Opening on Wednesday, September 18th, the holistic wellness space will provide students with an opportunity to seek peer-to-peer support from the University’s Wellness Peers, who are formally trained and staff-supervised through Brescia’s Student Life Centre.

Wellness Peers’ Student Coordinator, Cassandra Cozman is thrilled to see this new approach to mental health programing come to fruition, saying, “I am so excited for the launch of Brescia’s brand-new Peer Support Program!” She goes on to say, “As a student, I believe it is crucial for Brescia to have a program where students have the opportunity to support one another, and seek out care from their peers in a safe space as they make their way through their university careers.”

The first of its kind at Brescia, the Peer Support Space has been proudly supported by The Gerald C. Baines Charitable Foundation. Their generous donation, provided over two years, allows the University to provide a place like no-other on campus. Designed intentionally, the space offers a calming aesthetic, items to help with grounding, resources for students to learn from and peers to provide support and help. Privacy and confidentiality have also been carefully considered, with no identifying information being collected from students and white noise machines to mitigate conversations being overheard.

Previously known as the Wellness Education Peers, the revamped Wellness Peers will be available for 10 hours a week for Brescia students that are experiencing mild to moderate mental health concerns. Organized through Brescia’s Student Life Centre, this drop-in service encourages students seeking support to come and speak with well-trained Wellness Peers, who promote mental health wellbeing, resilience building and self-care/self-management strategies. This service is the first stop for many students before accessing further services.

“Throughout the past decade, Brescia has worked proactively to offer a variety of mental health opportunities, designed to educate and assist our students,” says Marianne Simm, Vice-Principal of Students. “While many of our students are now more aware of identifying signs of mental health, they many not be entirely sure of their next steps. This new Peer Support Space is a natural next step for our community, and a wonderful way for our students to support one another.”

Media are invited to attend the Grand Opening of Brescia’s Peer Support Space, which will take place on Wednesday, September 18th from 11:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. at Brescia University College, St. James Building, Room 157. Refreshments will be provided. For more information about the Peer Support Space and Wellness Peer Program, visit: http://brescia.uwo.ca/life/mental-health-wellness/peer-support-at-brescia/

Brescia Wellness Peers in new Peer Support Space

Above: The Wellness Peers, and their staff advisors, showcase Brescia’s new Peer Support Space

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Interview and photo opportunities:

Date: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Location: Room 157, St. James Building, Brescia University College, 1285 Western Road
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Grand Opening and Refreshments

For more information, please contact:

Rhea Johnson, Director, Communications, Marketing & External Relations at 519-432-8353, ext. 28293 or at rhea.johnson@uwo.ca, or Caitlin Core, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer at 519-432-8353, ext. 28280 or at ccore@uwo.ca.

Brescia University College, Canada’s women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,500 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in the Schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Humanities and Leadership & Social Change in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic University College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room, at http://media.bresciauc.ca/ .