A new avenue

Commerce club partners to provide students access to direct-message mental health support.
Issue: 
A new avenue

Sometimes students just need a safe place to talk. A space where they can unload or vent about everyday struggles, academic pressures, relationships and school/life balance.

“Our generation loves to text, and it can be much easier to confess things and talk about your feelings over messaging because you don’t have to do it faceto- face and you don’t have to put a voice to it,” says Finn Price, Comm’22.

That’s where Overflo, a youth mental wellness support service, comes in. In March 2021, the Queen’s Commerce Mental Health Association (QCMHA) joined forces with the Toronto-based company on a pilot to provide a secure, direct-messaging service for first-year Commerce students to access mental wellness coaching and support. Price was QCMHA’s partnership director at the time. “Really, we just wanted another avenue for students to get the support they needed.”

The initiative was renewed for this school year and made available across all four Commerce years. It’s funded by a contribution from Jen Hamilton, BCom’98. Hamilton is co-founder of the Room to Breathe Project, which partners with organizations to provide social and emotional well-being knowledge and practices to youth and adults.

“There was some nice overlap between our mission and vision at Room to Breathe and the work happening here,” Hamilton explains.

As of March, over 60 students had registered on the platform and connected with Overf lo coaches to talk through issues such as dating and relationships, body image, burnout, social anxiety, career uncertainty and more.

“Having been through the Commerce program, I understand that there are so many different stressors and so many different levels of stress,” Hamilton says, noting that, while sometimes those require more support, sometimes they really just need a lighter touch. “And with the world being much more connected now than it was 20 or so years ago, I think it’s the right time to bring in some of these alternatives,” she says.