Mental Health Focus Group Project Closed – Reasons for the Decisions

Benjamin Beelen - VP Academic
Posted on: February 6, 2019

First of all, thank you for reading this article. My council updates are going to be a little weird cause I’m gonna have some guest speakers taking up more time than normal, so here is a more detailed idea of what I’m doing.

The most pressing update is that I have closed the mental health focus group project which Katie and I were pushing for the past 7 months. I made the decision to close the group for a few reasons, but first is that there were not many people interested. We had a pretty rough turnout from the council and I believe from lack of advertising from class reps and myself to the general engineering population, we simply didn’t attract enough people. It takes a lot of energy and time to run a focus group, and if it is just a small group of people I may as well work directly with those people instead of wasting people’s time with meetings.

I am still planning on supporting mental health within my portfolio, mostly through working with my mental health commissioner Quin and working with the MATES exec to ensure that MATES is here to stay and that the faculty understands the importance of peer to peer support networks.

Another reason I am closing the group is that is was not appearing to be sustainable past my term as VPA. I originally believed that I could develop a policy that would lay a foundation for the focus group within EngSoc so that it could continue and pick up more ambitious goals. Based on feedback from within the group itself and personal reflection, it wasn’t deemed important to ensure the group stuck around once I was gone, and the policy initiative was abandoned.

I hope the best for the future of mental health at Waterloo, I’m excited to see the initiatives of the presidential candidates and I can’t wait to see what they are able to do with a new council and a new group of students.

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