AC Purple Couch gets students talking about mental health

Students discussed some of their mental health issues near the Nawapon entrance on Feb. 7 the AC Purple Couch initiative. This event offers students a safe space to talk with trained student leaders about mental health issues and to present students to the college’s resources. “We run this event to target mental health. We’re just […]
Photo: Justin Hancock-Lefebour
Connor Sunderland, a museum studies student, stands by the AC Purple Couch after having a talk with student health leaders.

Students discussed some of their mental health issues near the Nawapon entrance on Feb. 7 the AC Purple Couch initiative.

This event offers students a safe space to talk with trained student leaders about mental health issues and to present students to the college’s resources.

“We run this event to target mental health. We’re just trying to start a conversation here,” said Jules Medeiros, a student health promoter. “It’s an opportunity for anyone to come sit on the Purple Couch and talk about anything that’s going on in their life and specifically mental health.”

Medeiros’ advice for students would be to talk. “It’s what connects us all and talking about our struggles makes us all relatable to each other,” she said. “It makes going through things easier. When they see the Purple Couch, they recognize it. So people know that it’s a safe place to come sit and talk.”

Elizabeth Peña-Fernandez, a health promotion and education coordinator, said they found it’s better going directly to students to give them resources instead of waiting for them to come.

“That is the only way in which (students) can find someone, something, or some resource to receive this help,” said Peña-Fernandez. “If we don’t talk about then who will know it.”

Elizabeth Peña-Fernandez (left) and Jules Medeiros (right) greeting students attending the event.
Elizabeth Peña-Fernandez (left), a health promotion and education coordinator, and Jules Medeiros (right), a student health promoter, greet students attending the event. Photo credit: Justin Hancock-Lefebour

Adam Johnson, a radio and broadcasting student took part in the event.

“Well I just got out of counselling at the college and I figured might as well see what’s happening,” he said.

Johnson said going to counselling at the college has helped him greatly. “I really appreciate having the opportunity to talk about my problems with someone who’s experienced. I would strongly suggest going.”

Delbert Budge, a computer system tech networking, figured a stranger would be easier to talk with than somebody they know.

“Small talking here and there between friends, family and what not, but also to get an unbiased opinion,” said Budge. “I like to talk to somebody that is a complete stranger.”

Connor Sunderland, a museum studies student, saw the event as a good opportunity to talk to someone.

“Ultimately I’ve been sitting on a lot of things. It’s been a lot of late nights sitting there thinking about issues in my own life,” Sunderland said. “You just think about the same issue every night for like a week. You think you should probably talk about it at some point.”

What advice does Sunderland give to students going through these tough times?

“I think the big thing is to try to be vulnerable and talk about it,” he said. “Take that leap of faith, especially in scenarios like this. It’s so much better to take that risk because it’s probably going to end up well.”

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