North Island College (NIC) is launching its first annual Thrive Week, February 3 – 7.
Thrive Week is an initiative started by UBC and adopted by many post-secondary institutions as a way to celebrate community, encourage self-care and promote mental health literacy.
“The goal of Thrive is to bring students, faculty and staff together to do something fun, healthy and encourage positive physical and mental health,” said Felicity Blaiklock, NIC director, student affairs. “We know this can be a tough time of year, so we wanted to create space for people to get together, meet each other and make connections.”
Events will be taking place at each of NIC’s campuses and will be unique to those communities.
“We’ve had so many people in the college community step forward and want to be involved, whether it was leading an event, helping to organize, or just helping to spread the word and encourage conversation – it’s been really inspiring,” said Blaiklock.
Along with the events, Thrive Week will also serve as an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health services and supports available at NIC, how students can self-support, support each other and where to go if they need help.
“Mental health challenges can sometimes be like the proverbial frog in boiling water – you don’t know you’re in trouble until it gets bad,” said Blaiklock. “By engaging in conversation and normalizing talking about mental health, we hope students are able to recognize when things are not okay and reach out for help.”
Thrive Week is the latest mental health-focused NIC initiative. The college launched the Early Assist referral program in the fall to make it easier to connect students with resources and launched online bookings for counsellor appointments, so students can book their appointment at their convenience, instead of having to wait until the college is open.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for students to access services,” said Blaiklock. “Mental health should be treated like physical health – regular checkups are important to make sure everything is okay.”
While the first Thrive Week is still several weeks away, planning is already underway for next year.
“We wanted to start small and build it each year,” said Blaiklock. “We already have ideas on how to expand next year and are also welcoming ideas from students, faculty and staff about what they’d like to see and how they’d like to be involved.”