Peer Support Centre hosts annual Cares Week

Week of events asks students to invest in their personal wellbeing, highlights self-care

PSC Coordinators Sierra Gaudreault (left) and Nika Elmi (right).
Credit: 
supplied by Sierra Gaudreault
From March 4 to 8, the Peer Support Centre held a series of events dedicated to fostering mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing on campus. 
 
“As students, we’re under a lot of pressure, and for us [this week] was just the perfect opportunity to open a conversation about how we take care of ourselves while all that craziness is going on,” PSC Outreach Coordinator, Sierra Gaudreault, told The Journal.
 
PSC Cares Week worked to emphasize the importance of taking time for self-care and its multifaceted modes through accessible and interactive events.
 
“All these events are financially accessible, so they’re open to everyone,” PSC Outreach Coordinator, Nika Elmi, told The Journal.
 
The week kicked off on Monday with a whiteboard campaign in the ARC where students were invited to share positive statements about themselves, followed by a clothing sale that sold apparel marked with encouraging phrases.
 
On Tuesday, the PSC also invited students to engage with the Kingston community, traveling to Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to join the conversation on climate change. 
 
The booth hosted Wednesday in the ARC was a seed planting event called “Nourish to Flourish,” which invited students to pot and nurture seedlings. Thursday’s “Notes of Kindness” encouraged students to write messages to themselves for rainy days, calling attention to the ways they can support themselves. Meanwhile, Friday’s “Bags of Joy” asked students to create bags of candy.
 
Coordinators Gaudreault and Elmi identified “Paint Night” on March 7 as the week’s most popular event. It’s in collaboration with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, a partnership that extends throughout the semester via the “Art Hive” series which also offers drop-in art therapy on Thursday evenings.
 
The final event of the week is a community dinner on March 8 at the Queen’s University International Centre in Mitchell Hall.
 
“A lot of these events are drop-in based, so you can really work them into your schedule, and also stay for as little or as long as you like,” Gaudreault said.
 
The PSC is also aware of the individually specific self-care and have consciously curated, not only a week, but a year full of differing self-care activities, including presentations, physical exercise classes, and art nights. 
 
“We do different events throughout the year […] They’re always accessible and [we] invite everyone on Queen’s campus to participate in these community themed events,” Gaudreault said.
 
The PSC’s community emphasis also speaks through the number of collaborators they’ve worked with on care events. 
 
From art therapy nights at the Agnes, community dinners with the AMS Food Bank, to partnerships with Queen’s Commerce Mental Health Association and jack.org Summit, the PSC seeks to expand its presence on campus. 
 
“We like to have things going on that people can come, take a pause and participate in,” Gaudreault said.
 
Aside from events, the PSC has regular office hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Room 34 of the JDUC, Monday through Sunday, offering non-judgmental and confidential support to Queen’s students.
 
“We can provide resources and support—drop-in is very valuable to the students,” Elmi said.
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