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UFV offers mental-health screenings as part of Beyond the Blues

Activities at event from Jan. 27-31 include stress bingos and colouring

Free mental-health screenings take place at University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in Abbotsford and Chilliwack from Jan. 27 to 31 as part of the provincial Beyond the Blues event.

Beyond the Blues is an annual awareness event aimed at encouraging people to learn more about mental well-being and mental-health problems. The Abbotsford event will be one of at least 75 that have been set up across B.C. during the fall and winter.

The screening is free, anonymous, confidential and drop-in.

At the event, students can fill out short self-tests on depression, anxiety and risky drinking, and talk privately with a clinician about next steps and local resources.

They can also fill out a well-being self-test that looks at features of good mental health like vitality, social support, healthy thinking, and self-esteem.

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“We want to create friendly, engaging, and safer spaces for people to reflect on their own mental health and have a conversation about how to prevent problems or feel better,” says Bonnie Chi from the UFV counselling department, who is organizing the local event.

“We want Beyond the Blues attendees to leave feeling empowered, better informed, hopeful and supported.”

There are specially tailored screening forms available for students and those who are concerned about a friend or family member.

Brief risky-drinking screens also help people see the links between their alcohol use, possible harms, and impacts on their mental well-being.

Sarah Hamid-Balma, provincial coordinator for Beyond the Blues, said the event is about “prevention, catching problems early and connecting to local help in a fun, friendly and interactive way.”

She said it includes stress bingos, emoji activities, colouring and more.

“Our research shows anyone can benefit from attending,” she said.

“The information and activities are designed to support people in educating themselves so that they can see what’s going well for them, and also know what to do next if they or someone they care about is affected down the road.”

Screenings are by appointment only and can be booked by calling 604-854-4528. Visit heretohelp.bc.ca/beyond-the-blues for more information.

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