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October 9, 2017 | by  | in VUWSA |
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VUWSA

The life of a student can be a tough one — we’re constantly juggling so many things, which can often be overwhelming. New Zealand has damning statistics when it comes to youth suicide, and there is still so much stigma around the topic of mental health, which doesn’t get as much honest, open discourse as it should.

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) runs from October 9–15; a week-long event promoted and supported by the Mental Health Foundation, where organisations can get on board and run mental health-related activities. The theme this year is “Nature is Key: Unlock Your Wellbeing”. Although not the answer to long term mental health issues, these reflective periods and activities are chances to form conversations, and are part of broader movements to foster sustainable habits and positive environments for better mental health.

As VUWSA’s 2016 Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer, and the current Welfare Vice-President, I am passionate about student wellbeing, and have sought to find practical ways to combine this with the concept of sustainability. Wellbeing, as an everyday concept, requires shifts in the way we approach different aspects of life, to build sustainable movements for better mental health and overall wellbeing. One of my projects has been creating a student community garden on campus. It’s been a long time coming, and the collaborative effort, including working with STUDiO and the university, reflects the idea behind the space being a common one to make connections, chill, and be in a good space.

I am proud to be able to launch the Kelburn Student Community Garden this week as part of MHAW. Come along to the deck at the top of the Student Union Building from midday Friday, October 13, with your green thumb!

CanDo are hosting a MHAW event too — check out their stall on the Hub mezzanine on Thursday.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this