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College committed to give students greater wellness

The Langara Health and Wellness Fair aims to give students better access to mental health programs and strategies.

Student at a blood pressure demonstration at Langara’s annual Health and Wellness Fair. Photo by: Kathryn Tindale
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Reported by Kathryn Tindale

Langara became the first college in British Columbia to sign the Okanagan Charter during the annual Health and Wellness Fair to introduce a mental health framework.

The signature symbolizes the beginning of a three-year project as a commitment to the well-being of staff and students according to Vice President of People Services, Dawn Palmer. Dawn said the launch was a commitment for Langara to integrate practices promoting physical and mental well-being for employees and students on campus.

College employees will have the opportunity to learn to recognize students in distress and how to proceed, “not necessarily counselling or diagnosing, but just being able to listen and validate that experience and then refer them most importantly on to the next step,” said mental health initiative consult, Tanya Miller.

Mental Health Services on the rise
A student participating in energy pull at Langara’s annual Health and Wellness Fair. Photo by: Kathryn Tindale

According to Langara’s mental health framework committee, student appointments relating to mental health rose 350 per cent in health services since 2004. While 41 per cent of short-term disability claims from Langara employees were related to mental health.

Miller said the initiative will build upon and improve the existing mental health structures at Langara. 

Langara business student  Cassandra Chow said mental illness often gets neglected when it’s not affecting a friend or family member.

“[It’s] not only students, but just the population in general suffer from mental illness, and there’s a really bad stigma,” Chow said.

During the energy healing event at the Health and Wellness Fair and Chow said the presence of alternative health should be increased. 

Positive influences of the Okanagan Charter conveniently fit into the three-year process forming Langara’s mental health framework according to Palmer.

The Health and Wellness Fair also featured a selection of health tests and suggestions ranging from ergonomics to cannabis awareness.

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