Shattering stigma with creativity

Stand up to Stigma booths in SLCWhen students put their talents towards a social good, the results may be monumental. On March 22, students from Stand Up to Stigma came together to spread awareness about mental health through a student art showcase. Dozens of students walking through the Student Life Centre had the chance to revel in these unique creations.

Stand Up to Stigma is a student run club on campus that is supported by Campus Wellness. 2016 was the fourth year that they have coordinated a mental health showcase. 4B English student, Nicole Amaral, contributed a poem entitled My Dark Knight to the showcase: 

I wrote this piece two years ago, inspired by a relationship I had with someone that dealt with anxiety and his struggle to explain how anxiety made him feel. I was inspired by how mental health issues can makes us feel alone.

Kimmi's art pieceMasters student, Kimmi Luu displayed Neurogenesis; a three-part set of ink paintings on birch tree boards. The School of Public Health and Health Systems student was inspired by the concept of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change its structure and function over time:Kimmi's art piece

I have been doing neuroscience research for the past few years and find the brain's ability to change and adapt itself amazing, exciting, and hopeful-- especially for those who struggle with neurological disorders and mental illness.

The mental health showcase also featured a capella performances and information booths run by other wellness clubs on campus. 4A Psychology
student and Spotlight coordinator, Lauren Cormier, feels honoured to have sparked discussions about mental health among fellow students on campus: 

I really felt lucky to be involved in such an important venture. This is all about coming together and just enjoying some art in a really relaxed environment that hopefully gets you thinking about the importance of mental health.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20% of Canadians will personally experience mental illness in their lifetime. University students are particularly vulnerable to bouts of mental illness, which is why raising awareness of mental health is such crucial work. 

Keep standing up to stigma, Waterloo!

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