Prairie Post (West Edition)

Lethbridge College offers students free gym membership­s to promote mental health

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Lethbridge College is offering free Fitness Centre membership­s to all students for the Winter 2021 semester. Links between physical and mental health are well establishe­d, and this is a step the college can take to ensure students who are in the Lethbridge area have access to gym facilities.

In alignment with the easing of provincial public health restrictio­ns, the college will re-open its Fitness Centre to students and employees for pre-scheduled, one-on-one personal training with the college’s certified trainers beginning Feb. 8. This service is being offered for free to students and employees during Step 1 of the Government of Alberta relaunch strategy.

The college completed a student survey during the Fall 2020 semester, which identified challenges felt by students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased mental health support was near the top of the issues reported by students, so the college has responded with increased access to supports.

“We understand the challenges faced by students in a flexible learning environmen­t are different than what they have ever faced before,” says Dr. Samantha Lenci, Provost and Vice President – Academic. “Long hours in front of a computer screen and feeling isolated from classmates and instructor­s can have an adverse effect on mental health. In addition to our increased health and wellness supports that are available remotely, the promotion of physical health is an important step we can take to help students.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lethbridge College has made its Wellness Services supports available remotely, so students are able to access them no matter where they are located. Students can meet virtually with Wellness Services staff or access virtual counsellin­g provided by Shepell counsellin­g services. The Shepell Student Support Program (SSP) also offers 24/7 services for students both online and by phone.

Students can also find a wide variety of health and wellness informatio­n and articles available on the SSP website on topics like health, relationsh­ips, living away from home and student life.

“Our commitment is to support our students both inside and outside of the classroom,” says Nancy Russell, Dean of Student Affairs. “We have heard their call for increased mental health resources, and we want them to know they are available. No matter what they are feeling, we are here to help and can provide them confidenti­al support. I encourage any student to reach out if they need support.”

Students can learn about all resources available to them by visiting lethbridge­college.ca/wellness. Students must sign up at lcfitness.ca to activate their free Fitness Centre membership and book one-on-one training sessions in advance.

 ?? (Photos taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) ?? Exercise Sciences students take part in a training session.
(Photos taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) Exercise Sciences students take part in a training session.
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