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RBC  hosted mental health symposium at King Campus


This spring, Seneca and the Royal Bank of Canada hosted the second biennial RBC Mental Health Symposium at King Campus.

A unique gathering in York Region, more than 200 guests met on May 3 to discuss best practices and research on mental health care, this year with a timely focus on a new theme, Indigenous Ways of Healing.

Inspired by calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the speaker line-up included Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Indigenous Chair on Truth and Reconciliation Commission from Lakehead University, and Elder Blu Waters from First Peoples@Seneca. Breakout sessions touched on topics such as medicinal plants for natural healing and Indigenous health and well-being.

Part of this event was the presentation of the $5,000 RBC Community Partners Award, which recognizes a community agency for those who require mental health support. This year’s recipient was Anduhyaun Inc., an organization that supports Indigenous women and children in the efforts to maintain their cultural identity, self-esteem, economic, physical and spiritual well-being.

A highlight of the day was the student panel, where Indigenous students share their experiences in the community and at Seneca. This open and frank discussion was well received by the audience who participated with questions for the students.

The RBC Mental Health Symposium was made possible thanks to a donation of $300,000 from RBC.  RBC donates to a variety of initiatives that support diversity and inclusion for Indigenous peoples, among many other groups. The next symposium is expected to take place at Seneca in 2020.

Beyond this event, Seneca shares lessons on incorporating Indigenous teaching with other colleges and universities across Canada, as King Campus offers several programs with Indigenous content and practices embedded in the curriculum. Programs include  a Bachelor of Community Mental Health, a Bachelor of Child Development, Social Service Work, Nursing and Early Childhood Education.

Outside of academia, support for Seneca’s Indigenous students is offered through counselling, social activities, Elder guidance and opportunities to engage in traditional ceremonies through the First Peoples@Seneca office.