Olympian and mental health advocate Clara Hughes to visit campus

Olympian, motivational speaker and mental health advocate Clara Hughes will speak at Western University on Tuesday, February 9, as part of the Heidi Balsillie, Fairmount Foundation Health and Wellness Lecture Series.

“We are so pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to bring Clara Hughes to campus,” says Jana Luker, Western’s Associate Vice-President (Student Experience). “Western has an obligation to ensure our students are as successful as possible, and events like these aim to further the conversation on mental health and wellness needs and supports.”

There will be two opportunities to hear Hughes speak. At 10:30 a.m., Hughes will present her keynote presentation, “Open Heart, Open Mind,” followed by a book signing. She will take the stage again at 2 p.m. for an open question and answer session and second book signing. Both events will be held in Mustang Lounge East in the University Community Centre (UCC). The Bookstore at Western will be selling copies of Hughes’ bestselling and acclaimed memoir, “Open Heart, Open Mind,” at both sessions.

The speaker series will run in conjunction with a mental health resource fair in the UCC featuring on-campus and local services focused on fostering positive mental health and treating mental illness.

The events are free for all students to attend, however online registration will be required for Hughes’ morning presentation and can be found at www.studentexperience.uwo.ca

The event is organized by Western’s Student Experience, the University Students’ Council, and the Society of Graduate Students.

“Thanks to the generosity of Heidi Balsillie and Fairmount Foundation, the Wellness Series was established so that we can continue to bring engaging speakers to campus who will speak about health and wellness in a transparent and genuine manner,” Luker adds. “The message we hope that students receive is that there is support. You are not alone. Look out for one another. Have important conversations. Check in with each other, and realize that mental health struggles are common and there are supports to assist on the journey to success.”

Hughes is the only Canadian to have won medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. She served as the Canadian flag bearer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, and represented Canada with distinction at the London Summer Olympic Games in 2012 before retiring as an Olympian. In 2014, Hughes became the national spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk, a campaign designed to end the stigma of mental health issues.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, jrenaud9@uwo.ca, @jeffrenaud99

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