Paula Faragher (left) and Sarah Lefebure are the creators of Flourish, a program designed to help students deal with the pressures of their studies. -Image: Okanagan College

OC pilot project promotes student wellness

Workshops at Okanagan College helps students to combat stress

A new wellness pilot project is underway at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus and has set out to help students thrive in their studies and personal lives by teaching skills and tools to manage and promote positive mental health.

“Flourish is a series of workshops held on campus that model and teach students different ways of managing stress, anxiety and depression so that when they experience those overwhelming feelings they have a well-rounded toolbox of healthy ways to regulate them,” says Sarah Lefebure, Counsellor at Okanagan College and co-creator of Flourish.

The workshop series will offer activities, resources and support to help students combat stress. Additionally, guest speakers will help open up the conversation about mental health and work to break down stigmas of mental illness and the challenges students encounter in daily life.

“This project was developed very organically,” says Paula Faragher, Accessibility Services Coordinator at Okanagan College and co-creator of Flourish. “Sarah and I recognized gaps in services in terms of working with students who were experiencing really high levels of stress and anxiety while going to school.”

The project is based on a model of mental wellbeing that suggests everyone experiences times where they are flourishing, languishing or somewhere in between. Mental health care is not only for those diagnosed with a mental illness – everyone can benefit.

“We always believed that healthy campuses equaled healthy minds but it wasn’t until we saw statistics from a campus-wide mental health survey that Flourish really grew into the project it is,” says Faragher.

Last winter, OC Human Kinetics Professor Wendy Wheeler and her class conducted a mental health survey at the Penticton campus. It was found that in the past 12 months 49 per cent of students felt so depressed it was difficult for them to function, 57 per cent have felt overwhelming anxiety and 74 per cent have felt very sad.

“As a counsellor, our goal is to create and maintain a positive climate for students to succeed, both academically and in their personal lives, and a major part of doing that is promoting positive mental health,” says Lefebure.

Flourish was created and received full support from Okanagan College, which awarded the project with an Innovation Fund grant (the College’s internal grant for innovative new programs and initiatives).

“At Okanagan College, we are committed to expanding awareness of mental health issues and providing resources for those students in need of wellness supports,” says Charlotte Kushner Vice President, Students. “We are delighted to support Flourish.”

“The link between student wellness and academic success is well documented and the most recent studies suggest there is a need to improve mental health supports for post-secondary students who are facing an increasingly complex world,” says Kushner. “Students and student success are at the heart of everything we do at Okanagan College and we are committed to expanding awareness of mental health and providing resources for those students in need of wellness supports.”

The first workshop took place this week and looked into the physical, mental and emotional effects stress has on the body. The drop-in workshops are held bi-weekly on Mondays from 2:30-3:45 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in the Community Hall (PC 113). Flourish is open to all students and is free to attend. For more information on Flourish including workshop dates, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/flourish.

Just Posted

Heat warning issued for Central, South Okanagan

Environment Canada expects temperatures to exceed 35 degrees Celsius today

Camp Winfield makes dreams come true

Unique experience for Easter Seals campers

This weekend in Kelowna, in your words

We have complied highlights from the weekend and your photos in a community album

Reel Reviews: A cure for anger

We say, “Purge it up, goofballs.”

Kelowna families honour the dead by releasing butterflies

The Nicholson matriarchs release 33 butterflies

Course veterans seize victory in Peach City Classic

The first place titles in this year’s triathlon belonged to returning competitors.

Falcons swept by Pickles, WCL hits all-star break

Kelowna loses three West Coast League games in Portland

Extreme Okanagan weather preparedness in spring

Ensuring family and homes are safe in Vernon

Non-union construction industry fears exclusion in B.C.

Premier John Horgan imposes ‘project labour agreements’ for public works

BC Wildfire says Kamloops wildfire ‘being held’

Firefighters worked tirelessly this weekend to stop the spread of a wildfire east of Kamloops.

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

Trump and Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit.

In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Asked the queen’s view on Brexit, Trump said: “She said it’s a very complex problem.”

Exotic corpse flower begins to emit its putrid scent at Vancouver conservatory

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Most Read