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.

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. 

Meet Elizabeth!

Dr. Elizabeth Cawley, Canada’s leading expert in student mental health, joined the ASEQ | Studentcare team in March 2020 as our Director of National Mental Health Strategy.

Dr. Cawley has a PhD in Psychiatry from McGill University, specializing in post-secondary student mental health. She was the Medavie Healthy Campuses Coordinator for the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) from 2017-2020, working with 18 post-secondary institutions and 4 government bodies to move the mental health agenda forward in Atlantic Canada. In 2018, she was selected to be an expert member on the Technical Committee developing Canada’s National Standard for the Mental Health and Well-Being of Post-Secondary Students, which was released this October. As an active member of this committee, Dr. Cawley is helping to write the book on campus mental health.

Before joining the Association of Atlantic Universities, Dr. Cawley consulted at a number of top Canadian universities, assisting them with the development and implementation of their mental health strategies. She was also a board member at Kids Help Phone, working to successfully bring Crisis Text Line to Canada. In addition, Dr. Cawley has been involved with a number of private and not-for-profit organizations focused on developing innovative technology solutions for mental health service delivery on post-secondary campuses across Canada.

What we’re doing about COVID-19

We think it’s safe to say that this is a weird time for most, if not all, of us right now. We think it’s also safe to say that your email inbox has been overwhelmed by COVID-19 updates from every single service whose newsletter you’ve ever subscribed to. For the most part, many of these emails have only alerted us to the fact that giving our email to that random shop for a 10% discount maybe wasn’t worth it. And yes, this is another one of those updates, but hear us out­—we really do think this information can help relieve some of your stress and anxiety.

Studentcare has put in place several measures in the last few weeks both to ensure the continuity of our services and to develop new initiatives to support the student community.

Here are a few important initiatives we’ve established:

  • In collaboration with partner law firms in Ontario and Quebec, for the next four weeks we’re offering a free legal consultation service to members of participating student associations, in order to respond to any legal concerns regarding the impacts of COVID-19;
  • A new partnership with one of the leading companies in telemedicine in Canada is being presented to student associations that may be interested;
  • Our Student Assistance Program (SAP) partners are prepared to meet the demands of students in these difficult times.

We’ve also transitioned all our team members to home workstations, while maintaining our level of service for members. Although most of our on-campus offices are presently closed, students can still reach us if they have questions about their Health & Dental Plan.

In addition, with the associated insurers, we quickly developed reference documents for students abroad to ensure that they’re informed of the exclusions and restrictions of their travel insurance.

Studentcare is dedicated to supporting the student community during these uncertain times. We’re working hard to keep our members, our employees, and the communities in which we operate safe and healthy.

Meet Alexander!

Alexander is one of our account managers working mostly in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. He is a graduate of Carleton University, where he studied International Relations. He served a two-year executive term as President of the Carleton University Students’ Association. While there, Alex led the successful implementation of a Fall Reading Week model that has been replicated on campuses around the country. He also fundraised and established a $250,000 bursary program aiming to facilitate access to education for students in need. Alexander has engaged in multiple municipal, provincial, and federal non-partisan campaigns focusing on raising youth awareness and promoting access to education.

Meet Diana!

With over 8 years of experience in marketing and communications under her belt, Diana is our Director of Marketing and an expert at designing multimedia campaigns and coordinating projects. She has run TV, print, and digital campaigns for the optical chain Greiche & Scaff and managed in-store visuals for Dynamite. At Studentcare, she is responsible for ensuring branding consistency across all communication platforms and creating new marketing materials that will engage with students more effectively. Thanks to strong organizational skills, she thrives in a fast-paced environment, always staying on top of the latest marketing and consumer behaviour trends. She studied marketing at Vanier College and Concordia University.