Voice. Guitar. Song.

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Olds College, Local Musicians Partner for Student Mental Health Awareness

Olds College and the Students’ Association of Olds College are partnering with five accomplished Albertan musicians to promote Mental Health and Wellness.  Voice. Guitar. Song. will be an evening of songs and stories, told in support of mental health and wellness initiatives for Olds College students. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 11 in The Crossing Pub and Restaurant at Olds College, which is operated by the Students Association of Olds College (SAOC).

Red Deer singer/songwriter Ryan Langlois first developed the concept for the event and brought it to College officials, who immediately saw the potential as an awareness building event. Langlois approached other artists to perform in the show, and came up with a lineup of some of Alberta’s best independent musicians, including Mikaila Cooper, Blake Reid, Ken Stead, and Olds College Agriculture Management instructor Dustin Farr.

"I have wrestled for years with mental illness and chronic pain,” Ryan explains, “unfortunately, in my case, both feed off of each other. Although I was never alone, I felt like I was, and just couldn’t bring myself to admit the reality of my situation Often when we are open and honest it welcomes others to do the same and to be reassured that they are not alone.”

Being on the road with his previous band did not help. They were having success and the world appeared to be at their fingertips, but Ryan waited too long to ask for help, and he doesn’t want others to wait until it is a “better time” to address their issues.

“Through counselling, the support of family and friends, and through music, I am on the road to being myself again. It’s a process that all started with an honest conversation - with telling my story.. When I had the opportunity to partner with Olds College on their incredible new wellness campaign, I was thrilled. I wanted a voice and they are helping me have it. I hope that performing with my friends at The Crossing will help to raise awareness of Mental Health issues among college students, and will help to raise some money to support the College’s Beyond: Community Wellness Campus (CWC) project.”

Mental health and wellness continues to be a growing focus on post-secondary campuses. Understanding and promoting positive mental health and providing easy access to a variety of wellness resources is an important factor in supporting the success of our students. The 2016 National College Health Assessment showed that one in five post-secondary students in Canada reported feeling anxious, depressed, or have admitted to battling other mental health issues. With increasing workloads from classes, and numerous demands outside of the classroom, it is crucial that students are given the correct tools to help combat mental health and wellness issues.

“It is crucial that everyone keep talking about mental health and wellness,” explains Cassidy Kirsch, President of the SAOC.  “Everyone has a connection to mental health and wellness. We all know somebody who has struggled with depression, anxiety, addiction, stress disorders, or one of dozens of other classifications of mental health issues. Members of our own family, our friends, our fellow students or colleagues – perhaps you have even experienced them yourself. We all have a reason to support mental health and wellness.”

Funds raised will be donated to mental health and wellness supports at Olds College, via the College’s CWC project and the SAOC’s Student Wellness initiative.  In collaboration with public and private partners, the Community Wellness Campus at Olds College will improve access to mental health and other wellness supports for staff, students and the community; reduce the strain on off-campus health services; and create opportunities to learn about mental health and wellness.

Learn more about the Community Wellness Campus Initiative