Did you Meet Your Monkey? The Mental Health Summit Wrap Up

November 14, 2014  |   Found in Editorial // Student Life

Did you Meet Your Monkey?

Some of you may have had the pleasure (or displeasure depending on how busy you were) of finding some guy in a giant monkey suit, running around asking you if you’d met your monkey. If you stopped to talk to him or the people he was with, you would’ve learned about the student mental health summit we were holding (called Meet Your Monkey. Duh.) If you didn’t stop and talk, then we probably shoved a lollipop and a pamphlet in your face as you walked past (sorrynotsorry). If none of this rings a bell, you probably weren’t in Science theatres at the same time as us and boy do you now regret it!

But regardless of what you know you should care because the information we gathered at the Meet Your Monkey Mental Health Summit, the first of its kind on our campus we might add, will affect you.

Our goal was to get a conversation about mental health happening with students, so we could take the key recommendations to decision makers on campus and up in Edmonton, in order to make a positive change for student mental health on campus. You’re stressed about classes, relationships, graduation etc.? So are most people on campus. We want to do something about it! On the Friday night before the summit, we had performers and speakers ranging from health experts to students come and share their stories and experiences in the area of mental health. These stories were so thoughtful and touching. All of our performers had such different perspectives and experiences with mental health.

Everyone arrived very early on Saturday morning. (I don’t know why we made it so early, that will definitely change next year.) We started off the day with a panel discussion with 4 key decision makers on campus. We discussed questions regarding mental health on campus like what issues do we need to work on, what are our strong points, where can students go for resources. They used a coral reef metaphor a lot, that was cool. We’re all part of the coral reef, by the way. Then we accidentally scared some of the delegates by telling them they had to present during session 2 (oops, actually sorry). After reassuring them it would be informal, each group was given a question to discuss and present on. This allowed for the sharing of experiences and ideas between students and we really began to hear the student voice on mental health. We heard a lot about the need for more peer support on campus, and for more conversations like this one to happen regularly.

Our last activity of the day was “speed dating” where delegates would partner up with someone they didn’t know, discuss the one of the seven dimensions of mental health, and how we could be improved it. Some delegates reportedly found their soulmates, I was not one of them. The day was finished off with the whole group coming together to bring all of our thoughts and ideas to a final conclusion. By using witchcraft and summoning spirits we were able to collect our thoughts onto a screen. I think our phones were involved too (really we just found some really cool polling software, but I like to believe in magic).

The organizing committee and I are very excited to move forward with the information we gathered, we feel that the event was a major success and we have a lot to work with. We are determined to create a positive change for the mental health of fellow students. We hope you will see an improvement through the way we engage in the conversation about mental health on campus. If you have any questions or concerns please shoot me a message on Twitter @Dill_sauce and if you are looking for mental health resources on campus look no further than the SU or the SU Wellness Centre.


 

Dylan is a 3rd year drama major in the School of Creative and Performing Arts. You can see him in upcoming productions such as Jebat and West Side Story. You can follow him on twitter @Dill_sauce or Instagram @Dillsauce7