Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Five ways to end the stigma and start a conversation

By Jennifer Halcrow.

January is often thought of as a month of new perspectives, fresh starts and hope for what the new year will bring. But for many of us, the grey weather, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the struggle to find student-life or work-life balance can take a heavy toll on our mental health.

Recognizing Bell Let’s Talk Day, this year’s campaign focuses on supporting ourselves and each other through five proactive steps. While these five actions may feel small, they can create a significant impact on our community by ending the stigma around mental health and demonstrating your care for fellow members within our community.

  1. Language matters

As Jazz Fitzgerald, Student Equity Specialist in the Student Success Office, reflects on their struggles with depression and anxiety, they ask themselves “How might the language we use today validate the humanity of those around us?” Associating these mental health struggles as consequences keeping them from showing up in the world as their full self, Fitzgerald says a lot changed in their life after they decided to come out as queer and non-binary, like the language people used when speaking to them. “Folks around me started using my correct name and pronouns. The language they used when referring to me finally made me feel seen, heard and loved.” It’s important to recognize that the words we choose make all the difference and they have the power to hurt or help those around us.

  1. Educate yourself

When it comes to mental illness, education is key. Knowing the facts and myths about mental illness is a great way to help end the stigma and help to support yourself and others. The Mental Health Continuum model was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and gives us a model to understand the full spectrum of mental health. Campus Wellness has compiled a variety of resources to support your mental health, including tips for self-care, resiliency strategies or ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Understanding the resources available to you and where to seek support when you need it is crucial, regardless of where you find yourself within the continuum on any given day.

  1. Be kind

The smallest of gestures can create a lasting impact. Leading with kindness and compassion goes a long way to making someone feel seen and heard. A simple smile, being a good listener or an open invitation to chat are simple acts of kindness that can help open the conversation and let someone know you’re there for them. We’re starting the conversation through the @UWaterloolife Instagram where Neaa Rodrigues, a Waterloo student on co-op at Campus Wellness, will be sharing her kindness tips and taking a deep dive into resources available from the Campus Wellness team.

  1. Listen and ask

Being a good listener and asking how you can help can be the first step in supporting someone towards recovery. It can be difficult to recognize the signs of someone who is struggling and even more difficult to understand your role in supporting them. It’s important to remember the limitations of your own knowledge, but that doesn’t mean you should back away from offering support. Gain confidence and feel empowered to help those around you by reading the “How to help a friend” resource from Campus wellness.

  1. Talk about it

Break the silence, and don’t stop after Bell Let’s Talk day wraps up for 2022. It’s important to remember that mental health is an important topic to keep top of mind all year long and that just because Bell’s campaign is a one-day event, does not mean the conversation has to end. Continue to discover the available tips for your mental health and wellbeing and remember that physical activity is an excellent way to proactively build and maintain positive mental health.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Know that support is available for you if you are struggling. Get mental health support when you need it. Explore the list of available resources and contact information, including some of the go-to suggestions below:

On-campus contacts (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Counselling Services - 519-888-4567 ext. 42655 Offers appointments for emergencies. We are currently providing services by phone and video.

Health Services - Student Medical Clinic - 519-888-4096. Open for all medical services, with modified or alternative service delivery. All appointments will be addressed via phone or video if possible.

UW Special Constable Services - 519-888-4567 ext. 22222 For emergency services on campus 24/7.

After-hours contacts

  • Here 24/7 - 1-844-437-3247

  • Empower Me, Mental Health Resources  - 1-833-628-5589 

  • Crisis Services Canada - 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645  

  • Kitchener-Waterloo Sexual Assault Support Centre - 519-741-8633

  • Huron Perth Helpline (Stratford) - 1-888-829-7484

  • Stratford General Hospital - 519-272-8210

  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital - 519-621-2330

  • Waterloo to join the Academics Without Borders Network

    By Anna McWebb.

    The University of Waterloo is thrilled to announce that it is joining the Academics Without Borders (AWB) Network of Canadian universities and colleges as of 2022. This exciting membership will provide Waterloo with the opportunity to be engaged in advancing the capacity and quality of higher education globally.

    Academics Without Borders supports higher education institutions in low and middle-income countries by providing volunteer expertise on capacity-building projects. The structure of its partnerships ensures that the projects come from these institutions, matching them with volunteer faculty and staff that best meet the needs of a given project. Members of the AWB Network are committed to supporting higher education in less privileged parts of the world, with the understanding that higher education plays a critical role in global development.

    “We are extremely proud to become a member of the AWB Network, and to contribute to their mission of assisting people in the developing world to build up their higher education institutions," says Professor Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International. "Education is key to flourishing societies, and, through our membership, the University of Waterloo will be able to contribute to expanding and improving higher education programs, while also supporting the creation of new endeavours for positive global development.”

    “At Waterloo, we are excited by the opportunities for exchange of knowledge and understanding that will arise in the global collaborations to come from this membership, among many other aspects," says Professor Ian Rowlands, Associate Vice-President, International. "Working with Academics Without Borders will undoubtedly create opportunities for our community to take away valuable experiences that will not only support professionals developing institutions abroad, but also those working to improve higher education at home. We are looking forward to how this membership will support the betterment of higher education globally, in addition to the ways in which it will broaden our own horizons.”

    Waterloo’s membership in the AWB Network will contribute to enriching and advancing a number of Waterloo’s strategic priorities, namely fostering a connected and supportive community, and broadening engagement with international communities. Further, this membership will support the university’s international strategic direction by enabling an impactful global presence that is centred on global collaboration and internationalization. Through this opportunity, members of the University of Waterloo community will be given the chance to advance sustainability in global higher education by sharing their expertise developed at Waterloo and elsewhere, in order to contribute to higher education capacity at institutions of the Global South.

    More information about Academics Without Borders can be found at its website. AWB publishes volunteer opportunities as they arise, which Waterloo members can receive by email. Members can sign up for these communications here: More information on subscribing to communications from AWB is housed on Waterloo International’s International Opportunities page.

    Finally, if Waterloo members have any questions or comments about our membership, they can contact Jessica Denenberg, Associate Director, International Relations at Waterloo International at and/or Corrie Young, Executive Director – Projects and Network, the Academics Without Borders at,

    Partnership prepares professional engineers for digital transformation at work

    This article was originally published on the WatSPEED website.

    The University of Waterloo has partnered with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) to help engineers remain agile as the world of work changes.

    WatSPEED, the Faculty of Engineering, and OSPE have collaborated to launch an innovative new professional development course designed to help engineering professionals compete in an increasingly digital landscape. It will enable engineers, technicians, technologists, leaders, and managers to navigate industry disruption and adapt to rapid changes in technology.

    "Technology is now advancing at a quicker pace than an organization’s ability to keep up," says OSPE CEO Sandro Perruzza. "This program will ensure that engineers have the knowledge and skills to enable businesses to harness these technologies to not only adapt, but to excel."

    Digital transformation in engineering

    The course, Digital Transformation in Engineering, begins on February 23, 2022, and is designed to address the impact that information technology is having on the field of engineering.

    During the eight-week course, engineers and those who influence or lead change within their organizations will discover new technologies and plan for their integration into the workplace. Participants will also examine the impact that information technology will have on their future careers, assess emerging digital opportunities, understand challenges organizations face as digital transformation impacts the industry, and adopt tools and techniques to promote continuous improvement and innovation. Unique to this course is the inclusion of 1:1 coaching and consulting for all participants.

    "Knowing how to pivot quickly, create new connections, and leverage technology are the keys to succeed in the new economy," says Irene Sterian, PEng, Founder, President and CEO of REMAP Network, Director, Technology & Innovation, Celestica and OSPE board member.

    The importance of digital transformation for the future of work

    According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020, 85 million jobs will be displaced due to the division of labour between humans and machines. As COVID-19 accelerates the digitization of our workforce, organizations must have a strategy in place to manage technological change. Engineers will play an essential role in influencing and leading change and facilitating continuous improvement — across all industries — through their evolving technical knowledge.

    “This course is intended to help engineers be more effective inside their organizations with digital transformation and the introduction of new technologies,” said Peter Carr, Continuing Lecturer in the Department of Management Sciences at Waterloo. “In this course, we introduce a process for considering which technologies organizations should choose, what they are going to do with those technologies, and how they are going to implement them.”

    "We can see how the use of computers, the use of data, and the use of technology has influenced the disciplines of engineering and how we impart knowledge to students," says Dean of Engineering Mary Wells.

    Watch video on YouTube

    Emergency Notification System test coming up; other notes

    "A test of the University’s emergency communication system is scheduled for Wednesday, February 2 at 11:00 a.m.," says a note from Information Systems and Technology (IST). "Test activation and deactivation messages will be sent using the following channels:

    "In the event of a real emergency during this test, please contact Special Constable Services at 519-888-4911, or ext. 22222," says IST. "Be sure to install the WatSAFE app on your device and WatSAFE Desktop Notification tool on your desktop/laptop to receive this test message, and more importantly, to stay informed of campus emergency situations. Visit the WatSAFE website for more details."

    The Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS) and the Germanic & Slavic Studies Department (GSS) are hosting a virtual lecture series entitled Dis/Ability in German Literature. The seminars will take place online on Thursdays in February and March online.

    This series of talks focuses on Dis/Ability Studies both within and beyond German Studies. Organized by Professor Michael Boehringer as part of his Disability in German Literature course, the presentations cover critical disability studies, myths and rhetorics of disability, German literature, and a public reading and discussion. All talks are free and open to the public and will be hosted on Zoom.

    For more information and to register, please visit the WCGS webpage.

    Employers hosting Virtual Employer Information Session (VEIS) next week include Property Inc., Open Text, Hatch Ltd,., and Gadze Finance. Make sure to register through WaterlooWorks and check the calendar for any updates.

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