Sarah Crawford, Kevin Amirault and Patti Hancock cover topics about social media and mental health on June 25 during the "Social Media Burn Out" event.

The “Ask an Expert” professionals want to hear from you in their continuing event called “The Experts Ask You”.

From conversations about laughter to serious talks on relationships, Algonquin College’s “Ask an Expert” series with Sarah Crawford and Patti Hancock have been tackling tough questions live on Facebook since April 30.

“We just wanted students to know they were supported,” said Crawford, sexual violence prevention and harm reduction coordinator.

As conversations on campus were no longer possible after the college closed its doors, Crawford and Hancock, a group counsellor, were forced to find the online equivalent.

“It can be difficult since we are used to doing things in a certain way,” said Crawford. “Then all of the sudden the outreach strategies we were used to are no longer available to us. We have had to be creative in our thinking.”

The live series ranges in topics from mental health to relationships and sex to substance use.

“Ask an Expert” will be taking a break for the month of August. Instead of live events, a question will be posted on the Students Services social media accounts every day during the week for students to answer.

Those with the correct answers to the questions will be eligible to win a prize: gift cards, T-shirts, hoodies, water bottles and more.

“We can really get our students engaged and learning,” said Crawford.

In addition to Crawford and Hancock, Kevin Amirault has also joined the team temporarily while on placement from Carleton University, finishing his Master of Social Work. His first appearance on the live series was the May 28 “Sexuality and COVID” video.

“Working with Sarah and Patti has been a joy,” said Amirault. “They both bring great energy both during the live broadcast and in all of our other interactions. It has been amazing how they have made me feel welcome and how easy they have made the work considering that we have been working entirely remotely. I haven’t even met Sarah in person.”

"Ask an Expert" series is presented by Algonquin College&squot;s Project Lighthouse and The Umbrella Project.
"Ask an Expert" series is presented by Algonquin College's Project Lighthouse and The Umbrella Project.

The live series has four more events before it breaks until the fall. Live events to look out for are the following:

July 9 ­­– Sex Slang Words

During this event, Crawford said they will be covering words they have heard students use while referring to sex. She says it’s common to find people who are saying the same word but are implying different meanings, and also for people to be saying different words but meaning the same thing. Generations, experiences and cultures and how they play a factor will also be discussed at this event.

July 16 – Nature and Well-being

Our relationships with all things’ nature is the focus of this event. The team will be exploring how to enhance our moods and create balance in our lives.

July 23 – Mocktails and Tail

Not only will you get to learn how to mix the perfect mocktail, but there will discussions on substance use and sex. A fun and engaging event similar to the “Hot Drinks & Hot Topics: Sex After Dark” event Crawford and Hancock have hosted in the past.

July 30 – COVID Adventures

Each group member will be taking the live audience to their favourite adventure spot. During this event, there will be conversations about all COVID friendly adventures available.

“I would say that we are trying to bring an authentic conversation on topics that are relevant to student’s lives,” said Amirault. “Depending on the topic, the title ‘expert’ may not totally apply to us as a team, but we do bring some expertise that guides the conversation.

“However, part of what I think makes the series enjoyable to do, and I hope watch, is that we are having a live conversation, rather than a planned lecture or presentation. This allows for everyone to see that conversations around difficult topics can sometimes be a bit choppy and there can be pros and cons to different approaches, but what matters is that we push ourselves to be open and vulnerable enough to have the conversation.”

If you want to ask any questions to the “Ask an Expert” team regarding the upcoming events or want to watch previous videos, you can find all the links and contact email here.