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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

UOIT graduate student a finalist in mental health-themed social media competition

Joli Scheidler-Benns, master's student in UOIT's Faculty of Education, is a finalist in the Mental Health 2.0 social media competition.
Joli Scheidler-Benns, master's student in UOIT's Faculty of Education, is a finalist in the Mental Health 2.0 social media competition.

Joli Scheidler-Benns, a master’s student in the Faculty of Education, has been selected as one of 10 finalists in Mental Health 2.0, a province-wide student social media competition presented by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) in partnership with the Government of Ontario. A total of 117 submissions were received.

Participants in Mental Health 2.0 are challenged to show how they can use social media tools to promote campus mental health. Scheidler-Benns’ submission, entitled I am Anyone and I am Someone, proposes the creation of a series of short videos posted on YouTube, Facebook and university websites that:

  • Address feelings such as anxiety and negative self-image.
  • Emphasize the importance of recognizing signs of mental illness and reaching out to others.
  • Reinforce the need to seek help to reduce the stigma of mental illness and change attitudes.

Scheidler-Benns also recommends the creation of a blog, overseen by a university specialist, where students can discuss their feelings anonymously. She believes early intervention and detection key to the treatment of mental health illness.

“Research shows the incidence of mental illness is growing quickly and the amount of available individual support cannot keep up with the demand,” Scheidler-Benns said. “We need different kinds of interventions and task-shifting so we can deal with that increasing demand. Raising awareness about the signs of mental illness and teaching people what to do when someone confronts them with a mental health issues can help fill the gap.”

Social media and short videos are some of the most effective ways today’s students can receive and share information about mental illness. Blogging has also been shown to relieve depression symptoms; research has shown that students with social difficulties and depression who regularly write on a blog for 10 weeks experience improvements in self-esteem, reduced social and emotional distressed, and increased participation in social activities.

A prestigious panel of experts in accessibility, mental health, and social media will select the first, second, and third-place winners of Mental Health 2.0.

The following cash prizes are available:

  • $1,500 for first place
  • $1,000 for second place
  • $500 for third place

Winners will also be invited to attend a celebration at the Toronto, Ontario-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on Tuesday, March 18.

In addition, members of the public are invited to vote for their favourite submission. The finalist with the most votes will receive a People’s Choice Award and will join the other winners at the celebration event. Note: You can vote once every 24 hours until Monday, March 3.

“I am very excited to have arrived at this stage and whether I win one of the prizes or not, I am so thankful to have been a part of the process,” said Scheidler-Benns.