A student is changing how the University of Waterloo handles their mental health support for first year students.
Another day, another amazing Canadian student solving a big problem.
Mental health remains a huge issue on campus and schools across the country are looking at different ways to help students deal with it. Now, with the help of one of their own students, the University of Waterloo is giving away PASS kits to first years this fall.
What’s a PASS Kit?
Informally known as a ‘mental health first aid kit’, PASS actually stands for Panic, Anxiety, and Stress Support. Specifically, the kit includes a squeezable stress star, ear plugs, sleeping mask, pack of gum, and a deck of 25 flashcards with steps to deal with stress. Furthermore, it’s compact and even comes with a personal message from their faculty’s dean.
Frankly, we’re not even dealing with school anxiety right now and that sounds amazing.
Even better, they’ve enlisted help from the KW Habilitation program to assemble all of the kits. Call it a win-win. Not only are students getting access to these kits for free, they’re giving work to people with disabilities in the process.
Why is This a Thing?
Current Waterloo student Tina Chan, the founder of PASS, designed the kit to get through her own mental health struggles. The university subsequently saw the value in what she made and purchased 7100 kits to hand out this September.
Chan struggled with the transition from high school to university and wants to help others dealing with those same feelings. Because of this, she said that if she can help even one or two people it’ll be worth it.
She simply wants to promote a dialogue about mental health, giving students a simple way to start dealing with it.
Are They Coming to My School?
In short: not yet.
This is a brand new initiative and other schools are surely waiting to see how this goes over before trying it for themselves. Certainly, there’s lots of universities and colleges trying new initiatives to help students. Don’t be afraid to check out what your school offers in terms of mental health resources.
You can always buy a kit for yourself and check it out on their website.
If it takes off, don’t be surprised to see Tina get overwhelmed with lots of interested schools going forward. Maybe you’ll see PASS kits on your campus next year.
You could win $35,000 to pay for school.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.