In a competitive environment that values tangible results, confidence, and resilience, it is common to default to fulfilling the high achieving, over committed inclinations and to focus on the ever-growing to-do list. When was the last time you checked in with yourself and acknowledged your emotions, let alone openly talked about them or honestly shared your story with another person?
Since November 2012, Deb Chen, a PhD Candidate in Dr. Devine’s lab, has been a frontline distress services volunteer at the Vancouver Crisis Centre. It is a non-profit organization that is committed to empowering and safe guarding individuals and communities through education, empathy, and compassionate connection.
Deb emphasizes that she is beyond privileged to actively support those dealing with crisis and to empathetically connect with another fellow human being. She finds that her role continuously challenges her assumptions and prejudices around suicide and mental health.
“This is a place that grounds me and provides me with different perspectives, especially when the going gets tough, as a grad student” – says Deb.
She was recently promoted to train other distress services volunteers, and to show her gratitude for this inspiring and empowering community organization, she is running the Scotiabank Half Marathon on Sunday, June 26th, to raise funds for the Vancouver Crisis Centre. She hopes to raise $500 and would appreciate the support of the CBR community. You can support Deb here.*
Her experience at the Vancouver Crisis Centre exaggerates the deafening silence surrounding the mental well-being and the immense discomfort around sharing vulnerability with others. This is the reason why we would like to recognize and showcase the wealth of resources, both on and off campus, that support people experiencing a difficult situation. It may be hard to reach out for help, but it is harder to soldier on alone unsupported.
- Vancouver Crisis Centre: 24-hour phone service (and chat services from noon-1am) providing confidential, non-judgmental support for anyone dealing with crisis and/or experiencing feelings of distress.
- UBC Counselling Services: Offers individual and group counselling to help clarify concerns and explore new ways of dealing with them.
- UBC Wellness Centre: Staffed with trained student volunteers who are passionate in mental and physical health promotion.
- UBC Peer Wellness Coaching: Staffed with trained student offering personalized, online support to help you set goals, live well, and achieve success.
- UBC Mental Health Network: Curates on-campus mental health resource and promotes mental health resources for UBC communities.
- The Kaleidoscope: A student-run mental health support group that provides a safe, stigma-free environment for individuals living with mental illness in and around the UBC community
- BC 211: Professional resource data base connecting people with the help they need. Call or text 211 for information and referral to a full range of community, social, and government services.
Creating genuine connections with others is critical to support one’s mental health. In a close-knit academic environment, it is even more important to embrace yourself and others through sharing your experience with others, and through speaking up and reaching out.
*All pledges receive an official tax receipt.