By Lethbridge Herald on October 6, 2017.
The University of Lethbridge Students’ Union opened its 2017 speaker series with a Juno winner and a student wellness expert.
On Thursday, the presentation featured a discussion between Nova Browning Rutherford, a wellness expert and personal development coach, and Ian “DJ NDN” Campeau, a founding member of the Juno-award winning music group “A Tribe Called Red.”
Campeau spoke about his experiences dealing with burnout, stress on the road and recognizing his behaviour when he feels stressed out.
“The road is really tough,” he said. “Getting jetlag is brand new for humans.”
He said he reached out to friends and was able to learn how to take stock of his emotional state before starting his day.
“I tried that, and it works immensely,” he said. “Recognizing is a really good way of processing stuff.”
Rutherford said the feelings people experience when they are stressed are universal.
“Overwhelmed is overwhelmed,” she said. “Tired is tired. Hard is hard.”
Rutherford said the addition of social media to the mental health conversation has changed the direction of the subject.
“It creates a platform and provides an opportunity for dialogue about taboo topics, such as mental health, depression, anxiety or PTSD,” she said. “Things as taboo as abortion or miscarriage. People have support groups to talk to one another now. When we see we are not alone, we can access resources and start hearing one another.
“When you give a name to your problems, you start having a direction as to how to solve them.”
The conversation also veered into topics such the value of female friendship for men in particular.
“For a lot of university students and young people, friendships are difficult,” Rutherford said.
Campeau said platonic relationships with his female friends are “extremely” important to him. He likened the struggle women face with misogyny as similar to the racism he experiences as an Indigenous person.
He realized the connection by witnessing the struggles his wife faces in her life.
“(As a male), I’m the person who benefits from her oppression,” he said. “Just like white people benefit from Indigenous oppression.”
He said young Canadians these days are open to messages of inclusiveness and are willing to learn to work together.
Following the event, Rutherford spoke on the importance of reaching university students.
“University students are at an important crossroads and a crucial chapter in their life,” she said. “That 18-to-25 window when they don’t have the reference points or context that the challenges they are going through at this time won’t last forever. It’s encouraging to be someone a little further down the road to say to them that it’s hard, but it’s going to be OK.”
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