Mental Health Week is coming to a close on Dalhousie campuses, and the 16 men who are part of the PROsocial Project have played an essential role.
PROsocial supports various on-campus activities and hosted a panel discussion on mental health and identity on Wednesday.
Trevor Shannon, a student leader with the group, believes that their participation is a good sign, given what existed when he studied at Dalhousie in 2006.
“If you look at how much the idea of mental health has changed, it’s like night and day,” he said at the panel.
“Ten years ago there was no such thing as Mental Health Week, and now it’s something that’s spread so widely across campus and I think that’s a step in the right direction.”
PROsocial was founded at Dalhousie by Movember Canada to focus on mental health and reducing substance abuse on campus, and has spread to Queen’s University and the University of Calgary.
At Dalhousie, the project currently consists of 16 men working to spread awareness about the problems of mental health from the male perspective on campus.
Shannon started his work with the project because of mental health and substance abuse issues he faced in his previous years as a student.
Shannon says that there has been talk of possible changes for the project, partially due the group’s ties with Movember Canada, a foundation contributed to by men to fight prostate cancer.
This includes allowing female volunteers to come in and “eliminate the gender bias” that could be affecting the way the group is perceived on campus. The group is currently funded by Movember Canada.
At Wednesday’s event, Shannon spoke largely on the need to have conversations about mental health to help students.
“The panel will definitely give a voice to our program and other programs on campus, and will again bring up the conversation about mental health, which is exactly what we need to be doing,” Shannon said prior to the event.
PROsocial’s next event will be on March 24. It will focus on artists and the way their art allows them to fight their mental illnesses.