Monday, 27 November 2017 09:58

College’s Health Resource Fair helps with addiction issues

Written by  Demi Knight
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With a growing awareness on mental health and addiction issues in post-secondary institutions across the province, Lethbridge College officials tackled the important problem of addiction prevention this November with their ‘The Opposite of Addiction is Connection’ Health Resource Fair.

On Nov. 15 as part of national addictions awareness week, throughout the college events were held to help offer support, resources and understanding to all the students across the campus.
"The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection," says Addictions Counselling fourth year practicum student and this year’s event organizer, Kara-Lyn Fredrickson. "That is really want we want to focus on for this resource fair, how we have many groups both at the college and in the community, that are working in a variety of ways to tackle addiction at its root causes, with an emphasis on prevention instead of just on treatment."
The fair which began Nov. 15 brought in ten external community agencies, who joined forced with six on-campus groups to offer resources to students regarding growing issues within not only the student demographic but society as a whole, including harm reduction, prevention, treatment and support methods for addiction.
 As the event got started the ten partnering organizations which included, ACT Medical Centres, Alberta Health Services, ARCHES, Canadian Blood Services, McMan, Safe 2 Party, South Alberta FASD Network, South Country Treatment Centre, Streets Alive Mission and YWCA Lethbridge and District all offered displays in the centre core that gave students and visitors alike an option to learn more about what the college and facilities throughout southern Alberta have to offer in regards to addiction services.
However, it wasn’t only displays and information that the fair had to offer, but the day also boasted several break-off events such as ‘Doggy De-stress’. Students were offered the chance to attend the event, where they could spend time with some cuddly puppies and learn the therapy benefits that these cuddly creatures have to offer.
Overdose prevention and naloxone training was also offered which gave all participants an idea of the skills needed to identify an opioid overdose as well as teaching participants how to respond to an overdose in an emergency situation.
Finally, the day also hosted a supervised consumption site community meeting, where ARCHES presented an information session on the new supervised consumption site that will be coming to Lethbridge soon.
"We are fortunate to have such involved and passionate community partners," says Lethbridge College Health Promotion coordinator, Harmoni Jones. "They help to ensure that events like this are possible. This is a way to strengthen those partnerships even further, which will help to make our community stronger."
With this health resource fair aligning perfectly with the College’s recent mental health funding of $220,000 which enables the college’s commitment to stimulate resources, safe discussion on mental health issues and the stigma surrounding it, this fair couldn’t have come at a better time, especially since the College is home to so many rural and international students, where the struggles of being away from home can cause stress on individuals and their learning process, offering more opportunities to suffer from certain causes.
“It’s more difficult coming to a bigger city because you don’t have access to the things you enjoy doing anymore like quadding, hunting, or spending time outdoors away from people.” says student Kathleen Skjenna. “This could eliminate someone’s coping mechanisms.”
The former resident of Oyen, said events like these are necessary in post-secondary institutions.
With a commitment to promote an inclusive and healthy work and learning environment, Lethbridge College and its community partners were proud to host the event this year and hope that days like these will resonate with the public and continue to help end the stigma and silence surrounding important provincial issues such as addiction and mental health in the years to come.

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