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How Enactus Helps Students Champion Their Mental Wellness

University student looking out of her window with a sad expression
University student looking out of her window with a sad expression

Last year, an Enactus uOttawa team concluded that many students aren’t equipped with the mental-wellness knowledge base to cope with the onset of adulthood.

Navigating mental wellness with Project FLY

To serve this need, the team partnered up with to launch Project FLY. It’s a mental health curriculum to educate youth of all ages about general mental wellness and to help increase their ability to reach out for support when needed, and it’s being delivered across local schools, community groups, and rural communities.

Project FLY’s curriculum includes content for a variety of target groups, such as basic positive self-talk, care activities, and mindfulness instruction tailored for elementary school students. Students in middle school are taught how to better navigate puberty in a safe and supportive environment, and students in grades 11 and 12 are provided the concrete skills and resources needed to successfully self-manage and navigate the uncertainties of young adulthood.

This past year, Enactus uOttawa expanded Project FLY to eight new schools and community partners. Over 500 youth attended Project FLY workshops, gaining greater coping skills and access to tools and resources they didn’t previously have.

Clear Image helps youth identify the positive

Students at the Enactus College of the North Atlantic — Grand Falls-Windsor campus also recognized a need in their community for better mental health education and resources available to youth. So, they created Clear Image, a project that provides youth with mental health education while also addressing the stigma surrounding mental health.

The student team delivers presentations with interactive and age-appropriate activities that teach participants about managing their own mental wellness and how to stay positive in a world that can feel overwhelmingly negative. The presentations teach youth about their mental health, and how to develop coping skills and healthy habits. They also hand out CAREkits at the end of each presentation, which contain information about where and how to get help if the participants need it, and take-home activities they can do independently. In the last year, the team established a partnership with the College of the North Atlantic student success team and gave out over 3,300 CAREkits across 17 campuses in Newfoundland and Labrador during orientation week.

Female university student in an online class through her laptop

Enactus empowers students to champion their mental health

And these are just two of the many initiatives Canadian college and university students are undertaking in an effort to champion mental wellness. The common thread? They’re all Enactus students.

Enactus is a national charity and Canada’s largest experiential learning platform for post-secondary students. The organization challenges student teams on college and university campuses from coast to coast to develop and execute projects that address social issues locally and abroad.

In 2018, Enactus launched The Co-operators Youth Mental Wellness Project Accelerator in an effort to empower more than 75 teams across the country with the resources needed to deliver projects that decrease the severity of mental health concerns reported by youth aged 18–25 and increase their mental health resiliency. Over $45,000 in funding will be distributed to selected Enactus teams to invest in their project in the 2020–2021 academic year alone.

“This year will be an especially challenging year for all students due to COVID-19,” says Nicole Almond, President of Enactus Canada. “Campuses and school boards are struggling to prepare so their capacity to address issues like student wellness is limited. By empowering students to champion their own mental health — and that of their peers — we believe they are more likely to succeed.”

In addition to the Project Accelerator, Enactus and The Co-operators have teamed up to provide their student network with access to exclusive mental health training, certification, and learning opportunities in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Additional training opportunities will available in the 2020–2021 year.

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