More than a week for mental health

Regular breaks and resources can help support students

Illustration by Kathleen Bergen

The University of Winnipeg (U of W) and the student groups it houses offer resources to support the mental health and well-being of students in a number of ways.

On May 5, 2015, the U of W announced the addition of a fall reading week to the academic calendar, and the break was first held in 2016. The U of W was the first university in Manitoba to implement a fall reading week.

“The fall reading week is a nice opportunity for students. At least I’ve used it to catch up on work ... reflect (and) do some self-care,” Bryan Young, a third-year education student at U of W, says

The University of Manitoba, Brandon University and Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) offer extended weekends, but they don’t offer fall reading weeks.

“It's really hard when you have to focus on studying. So not having a reading week involves you missing out a lot on family activities and just being more stressed and less prepared for your midterms,” Zoe Goldstone-Joubert, a second-year science student at USB, says.

A statement on the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association’s (UWSA) website explains that the fall reading week is part of a larger holistic approach to students’ mental health, along with other wellness resources on campus.

“Focusing on prevention can also result in a reduced strain on existing mental health supports, which are currently in high demand,” the statement says.

Student groups and initiatives at the U of W are also available to support students.

The U of W houses one of the chapters, a national organization that aims to start conversations surrounding mental health in an inclusive and positive manner.

“The network is doing a lot of really cool things to start conversations and revolutionize mental health for young people,” Bryan Young, lead of the U of W Chapter, says.

The Chapter works closely with the the Health and Wellness Peer Educators, co-led by Tianna Flett and Young. Both of these groups act as an important resource for students.

“We’re that connection. We’ll connect you to the resources you need if you come to us. We like to make sure students have those resources in case they themselves may need it one day,” Flett says.

These groups, along with the University and the UWSA, are planning to team up to put on Thrive Week in November.

"That’s one full week where (we) come together and really promote all types of wellness on campus ... It is a really exciting and busy week," Flett says.

For details on Thrive Week, check out: UWinnipeg Health & Wellness Peer Educators on Facebook and

To read up on U of W’s chapter’s campaigns and how to get involved, visit 

Published in Volume 72, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 5, 2017)

Related Reads