The Social Collective presents the What were you wearing? exhibit

For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has made life more difficult. The current situation and social distancing complicate things, such as organizing activities to prevent sexual violence. Yet, despite students being absent from campuses, sexual violence has remained very much present in their lives and can manifest itself in a variety of forms.

In light of this reality, the Social Collective has taken up the challenge of developing a new virtual tool for the prevention of sexual violence. The exhibit What Were You Wearing?, already well known across the globe, has been adapted into a virtual format and is offered free of charge to all college and university communities across the country.

Keep an eye on your emails; you should have already received all the information needed to participate in our launch and to spread the word to your members. If you missed the launch or if you have additional questions about the project, please contact us. Please write to Andréanne St-Gelais, Director of the Social Collective, at andreanne@aseq.com.

The ASEQ Foundation becomes the Social Collective

Significant changes are taking place within our Foundation, which has recently changed its name and is now known as the Social Collective! It’s much more than simply changing our name and logo, we’re also renewing and evolving our mission. Moving forward, the Social Collective will focus on developing and supporting community or social initiatives that meet the needs of student communities on the campuses of post-secondary institutions.

Are you familiar with our Order an Angelot initiative? Launched in 2017, Order an Angelot aims to prevent and raise awareness of sexual violence in the student community. The Social Collective, with its new branding, will promote a wide range of projects, activities, and initiatives. These projects may address sexual violence, responsible consumption, the environment and sustainable development, and diversity and inclusion—ultimately, any issue that is important to students across the country. If you have any suggestions or ideas in mind, we want to hear from you! Don’t hesitate to write to us and let us know.

Studentcare Vision Network

Our vision is something we can easily take for granted and get lazy about regular check-ups. No, eating a bunch of carrots is not enough! Proper vision is important for everyone, and problems with your vision can have significant social and financial impacts. With proper care, most eye-care problems are preventable and that’s where your Health Plan comes in. 

Most eye care specialists recommend seeing an optometrist for a comprehensive examination every one to two years. This also depends on your age, risk factors, and whether or not you wear corrective lenses. Many vision-care services are not covered by provincial health care. Our Plans can include savings on eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses, laser eye surgery, and even accident coverage.

To keep your eyes healthy, Studentcare has partnered with several leading vision care providers of optometry services and vision care products to create the Studentcare Vision Network. A complete list of our Vision Network providers and the discounts offered can be found on our website www.studentcare.ca.  Students can combine these Vision Network deals with their Health Plan’s vision coverage to make visits to the optometrist even more affordable!

Happy new year

To say that the last year was an unprecedented one is an understatement.

Loss is the word and the feeling that came up most often in 2020 for many of us – primarily the loss of normalcy. Even though we’ve welcomed a new year, some of us may not be ready to move forward just yet. For others, a new year is exactly what is needed to look forward to what’s ahead. We hope that you were able to get some rest and find a little cheer during the holiday season. Your holiday gatherings probably looked a little different―socially distanced walks outdoors and loud and somewhat chaotic Zoom calls come to mind―but we hope they felt merry and bright nonetheless.

The future may feel uncertain at the moment, but a new year is an opportunity to embrace change and form new ideas of what our futures might look like. As Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” We wish you all a safe and happy new year filled with light and a successful return to school.

The importance of student voices

With anxiety, depression, stress, and suicidal ideation on the rise, it is now more important than ever to listen to what youth are saying and to address the growing mental health concerns among this population. Jack.org, Canada’s largest youth mental health advocacy charity, recently released their 2020 Youth Voice Report, which draws on the voices of over 1,100 young people from all over the country.

The Youth Voice Report is timely, as serious mental health issues have seen a significant increase since pandemic measures began in March 2020. Alongside these alarming rates, the Youth Voice Report notes that there is a “crisis of access,” with wait times presenting a significant barrier to accessing care. For example, the national average wait time for psychiatric services was 19 weeks in 2015, as reported by the Fraser Institute. These delays can have a major impact on a young person’s well-being. The Youth Voice Report also notes that 74% of surveyed Jack.org members “agreed that long wait times to access resources were a barrier to receiving help in their communities.” Other concerns raised include a lack of culturally sensitive resources and access in rural and remote communities.

Empower Me, provided by Studentcare, is a resource that can address a number of these needs. Support via Empower Me is available in multiple modalities to allow students to choose what feels right for them—there are in-person, telephone, videoconferencing, and mobile app options. During this unprecedented time when in-person sessions may not be possible, assistance is still available via online methods, and we have seen an increase in requests for support.

Empower Me is also culturally, faith, and gender inclusive. All Empower Me professionals go through mandatory sensitivity training before joining the program. In addition, students can request a mental health professional who speaks their language or has a particular specialty, such as BIPOC or LGBTQ+ issues; this increases the likelihood of a positive therapeutic relationship, which leads to better treatment outcomes.

Finally, Studentcare is actively working on an enhanced version of Empower Me for fall 2021, and as part of this project, we recognize the importance of student voices. We support students across the country and our work is always informed by research, data, and reports such as the Youth Voice Report. We thank Jack.org for their meaningful work and we remain committed to meeting young people’s mental health needs.