Eliminating the Stigma Around Mental Health: Meet Angelina Tortola

As the saying goes, home is where the heart is. This sentiment rings true for 小猪视频student, Angelina Tortola. Angelina always knew she wanted to remain close to home when choosing a post-secondary institution, but what made her decision clear was meeting just a few special people at CBU. 鈥淚 was drawn to 小猪视频through my encounters with the faculty, as that鈥檚 what really differed from my encounters with other universities,鈥 says Angelina. 鈥淭he faculty at 小猪视频are personable and want you to succeed. They didn鈥檛 make me feel like I would just be a number in their class.鈥

Currently studying in the Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies Program, Angelina became a Peer Mental Health Coordinator with the Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre in 2023. She was originally drawn to the role because of her interest in the field of social work, and when the opportunity arose in the form of a co-op placement, she couldn鈥檛 pass it up.聽

A memory that will forever stick with Angelina formed just this past Fall when the mental health crisis of an immediate family member resulted in her having to miss almost two weeks of class. 鈥淲hat made this difficult time more manageable was how understanding and supportive each of my professors were,鈥 says Angelina. 鈥淩eading through their emails, I was overwhelmed by the love and support I received from each of them.鈥 This experience gave Angelina even more drive to offer mental health support through her role.聽

Angelina feels there are a number of ways she and other Peer Mental Health Coordinators can be beneficial for students, including helping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues by giving students the opportunity to talk to someone who is going through similar academic and social experiences. She feels this relatability and understanding will allow students to open up more.聽

Another way Peer Mental Health Coordinators support students is through empowerment. 鈥淭he coordinator gains a sense of purpose and fulfillment from helping others, while the student receiving support may feel more empowered knowing that someone their age has overcome similar challenges,鈥 says Angelina. She cites the opportunity for community-building as another benefit to the role, as students can gain comfort in knowing others around them are struggling, seeking help and helping others.聽

Angelina鈥檚 experiences at 小猪视频and her passion for helping others make her the perfect fit for this role. 鈥淎s a Peer Mental Health Coordinator, I am a valuable resource for other students, and I recognize the value of empathy, compassion and confidentiality,鈥 says Angelina. 鈥淐reating a safe and trustworthy environment where people feel comfortable opening up and sharing their concerns is a priority for me. I want to help provide students with the support and resources they need to overcome their challenges.鈥

小猪视频takes both the mental and physical health of its students very seriously, and that鈥檚 why events like Bell Let鈥檚 Talk Day are celebrated openly throughout campus. 鈥淐BU鈥檚 participation in Bell Let鈥檚 Talk Day and other mental health initiatives is greatly appreciated,鈥 says Angelina. 鈥淭his participation allows our campus and community to continue to reduce stigma and connect students with the support they need.鈥

Angelina encourages struggling students to connect with one of the Peer Mental Health Coordinators, and to speak freely in doing so. 鈥淪ay whatever is on your mind, we are here to listen and direct you to resources,鈥 she says. 鈥淲e do not judge and we always honour confidentiality.鈥

Peer Mental Health Coordinators are just one of the numerous mental health resources available to students at CBU. The Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre offers free and confidential counseling services, among other resources. For students who may not be ready for in-person counseling, online resources such as and can be accessed at all times and are also confidential.

Angelina wants all students and employees to know if they are struggling, they are not alone.聽 鈥淲e want to hear your story,鈥 she says. 鈥淎lthough reaching out can be intimidating, the reward is worth it.鈥 For more information on mental health services at CBU, visit cbu.ca/mental-health