Maud Rozee (3L)
At their first meeting of the year, the Mental Health and Wellness Student Committee discussed their plans for the peer mentor health program, fitness and nutrition support, community building, a speaker series, and more.
Peer Mental Health Program
The Committee would like to expand the program this year, as there are currently more potential mentees than qualified mentors. The committee also wants to provide training in SafeTalk, a widely-used pre-existing suicide awareness training program, to all mentors.
Fitness and Nutrition Support
The Committee discussed potential initiatives centering around gym visits and healthy cooking, contemplated a Halloween-themed dodgeball, and tried to get the Dean, an elite runner, involved in the existing running group. Finally, Hiam Koglashvili (1L) told the Committee about the Health and Fitness Group that he had started, hoping that the Committee could find new ways to enhance their activities.
Upcoming community building initiatives include an art show, a baking exchange, a drop-in snack time, and a mental health awareness week featuring mindfulness training.
Wellness Coordinator Yukimi Henry shared that Orlando Da Silva, the former President of the Ontario Bar Association, would be giving a talk at the law school later this year. Mr. Da Silva is well known for being open about his experiences with depression and suicidal ideation as a high-achieving lawyer. Ms. Henry also shared that she was working on a lived experience panel with speakers including CAMH-founder and lawyer Arnie Cader. The panel would also include a “recruitment perspective on structures at firms to support mental health.”
Students presented other ideas to promote mental health. Improving the OCI experience was top of the mind for some, who suggested having therapy dogs or 3L mentors attend OCIs next year to provide support. Students also suggested a project promoting conversations about failure, because it’s easy to imagine that everyone else is only experiencing success. One student suggested that Ultra Vires could provide a forum for stories about dealing with failures. This led to much discussion about whether Ultra Vires was accessible for students, given that some had heard that other students found the paper triggering and the paper is known to have an agenda. Ultimately, the Committee decided that they might produce an independent newsletter instead.
(Editor’s Note: Despite our hurt feelings, the offer to run testimonials still stands.)