Mental health coffee break provides a relaxing place for people to chat

The event was part of Mental Health Awareness week
Photo: Zhiqi Zhou
A staff member at the Students' Association displays some of the messages written by students at the event.

The Algonquin Students’ Association and Student Support Services offered students a mental health coffee break from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Wednesday, where they could spend some free time relaxing in the corner lounge room in the E-building.

The event was part of the annual Mental Health Awareness week. “This is an annual event to talk openly about mental health and to help our community to reduce stigma and to encourage them to reach out for help, so that’s why that’s happening today,” said Elizabeth Peña-Fernandez, a health promotion and education coordinator at Algonquin College.

This coffee break was mainly for the students to relax. Students were busy with their studies and if they wanted to take a break and relax this was a great place to take one.

Yenling Lin, a level-3 student in computer engineering technology, said she didn’t come to the event looking for any mental health support.

“I saw a poster, and I ended my class at 10 o’clock, so I think I can come here to take a break because I’m really busy with my program,” Lin said. “I want to have a break.”

There were many forms of mental health support and activities during the week, and the coffee break format provided students with a relatively relaxed environment to connect.

“We want to make mental health resources available, accessible and visible to all of our students, so they can feel comfortable talking about mental health and mental illness,” Peña-Fernandez said.

Danvil Noshad, a level 1 advertising and marketing communications student, attended as well. “I am an international student,” he said. “One thing that I’m worrying is that I am not able to make friends, so I was very depressed, and I thought this program will make me feel better, so I came here, I’m doing fun here.”

Peña-Fernandez said in the interview that Sam Demma will be speaking after the coffee break. “He is very engaging and he wants to talk about that and how to cope with stressors,” said Peña-Fernandez.

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