Daylight savings was a few weeks back, and with that came the blooming of cherry blossoms, later sunsets and the subsequent increase of time spent outdoors. It’s been almost exactly a year since our last post, and with us springing forward, we thought we would start making more regular blog posts again.
So what have we done this past year?
The main focus of the past year has been to increase awareness and visibility of our support group. We’ve connected with various campus services and groups at UBC such as the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre, Counselling Services, the Wellness Centre, the Kaleidoscope, Pride UBC, AMS Speakeasy, UBC Mental Health Awareness Club (MHAC) and the UBC Mental Health Network (MHN). Our awesome graphics/promotions team Daniel and Katherine updated our flyer and distributed them digitally and in paper form to the various groups, and many of them now carry our flyers at their locations.
We also attended several campus events, such as Imagine Day (campus-wide orientation day), and wellness related events such as the UBC Defeat Depression Run wellness fair. To further promote SHARE, we also did a 3 minute presentation at the UBC Mental Health Symposium, whose audience was made up of students, student leaders, and UBC staff; it seemed to be quite well received. On top of that, we personally spoke with the outreach coordinator at Counselling Services to encourage referrals to our group.
Despite our efforts, attendance of our group was still minimal, with only a friend attending once to show support. We began the school year holding weekly support groups, but because we still had no luck with attendance, we decreased our meetings to once every two weeks to appropriately utilize our resources. Over the summer, we’ve decided not to hold any support group meetings, as our time and effort would be better put into preparing for the next school year. At this point in time, we are unsure of what other steps we can take to increase visibility of our group and attendance, besides the steps we already took this year.
One exciting thing for the coming school year is that we will be collaborating with Counselling Services and receiving informal training from them this September. Topics will include setting healthy boundaries, self-care for the supporter, role-play scenarios, and safety risk mitigation/protocols. We invited other student leaders from Kaleidoscope, Pride, Speakeasy, SASC, Wellness Centre, MHAC, MHN to join us as well, so we can learn from each other, and use this training opportunity to its full advantage.
Though we may be moving at snail speed, we are still moving and will keep moving. With determination and persistence, we will eventually gain momentum and reach those who need our support, and provide education for the general public.