College hosts Mental Health Matchup for Bell Let’s Talk Day

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Mental health awareness will be a slam dunk at Niagara College on January 31.

A Mental Health Matchup basketball game will be held in honour of Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 31 – a nation-wide initiative to help promote awareness about mental health. As the NC Knights face off against the Sheridan Bruins, student-athletes and the crowd cheering them on will be tackling a bigger opponent: mental health stigma.

Co-hosted by College’s Athletics department and the NC Student Administrative Council (NCSAC), the event – to be held at the Welland Campus – will kick off with a tailgate party at 5 p.m. in The Core, followed by a women’s game at 6 p.m. and a men’s game at 8 p.m. The event is free for students and $5 for public admission. All ages are welcome.

“As a student-centred college, Niagara College strives to create a positive learning environment for all of our students,” said Dave Taylor, associate vice-president, Academic and Learner Services. “Mental health awareness, and related services that respond to the mental health needs of our learning community, are an important aspect of the College’s support for personal and academic success.”

College counselling staff will be on site to provide information about mental health resources available on campus and in the community. They will invite students to share their thoughts on the subject of mental health on ‘conversation bubbles,’ provided by Bell Let’s Talk, which will be posted outside of the gym, or leave messages of hope and inspiration on a “Wall of Encouragement.’ The College’s Health, Wellness and Accessibility Services Department will also be on-site to provide information.

Attendees can enjoy the game from the courtside lounge where representatives from student health care provider We Speak Student will be available to discuss the mental health network available to students through Aspira. The crisis counselling and support services are available 24/7 by phone, text or video, free of charge for all students.

The NCSAC will run the tailgate party and photo booth at the event and give away free hotdogs, cotton candy and popcorn. There will also be plenty of swag giveaways at the game from Bell Let’s Talk and the NC Knights.

Student-athletes from Niagara College are joining those from across the country to promote this initiative, as the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association and the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association are both supporters of Bell Let’s Talk Day.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell Canada will donate to mental health initiatives in Canada, by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet (#BellLetsTalk), social media video view and use of their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. For more information about Bell Let’s Talk Day visit letstalk.bell.ca/en/

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