Trigger warning: The article contains potentially challenging content regarding mental health and suicide.
As the school year begins, the importance of mental health and self-care should remain at the forefront of students’ minds in order to maintain their well-being.
According to CAMH, young people aged 15-24 are more likely to experience mental illness than any other age group.
It is essential that students realize the importance of putting their health first regardless of any mental illness diagnoses so they can put their best foot forward everyday. This will allow them to be a better student and perform better in all their various extracurriculars.
Since mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada according to CAMH, it is vital that students, and those in the Brock community, know where and how to reach out if they notice they are struggling.
The life of a student is filled with surprises, deadlines, expectations, changes and sacrifices. No one can handle life alone, but sometimes someone may feel like they have no one to reach out to. That’s why it is important to continue the dialogue around mental health every day and prevent the stigma around mental health.
World Suicide Prevention Day was on September 10, 2019 and is meant to raise awareness, decrease the stigma around mental illness for those struggling and pledge to suicide prevention. In 2016, suicide accounted for 23 per cent of death of young adults aged 15-20. On social media, young adults have been sharing their stories about seeking help for their mental health struggles and being transparent about their suicidal thoughts or attempts in the past.
It is important that students realize that other students are in the same boat when it comes to mental health issues. Everyone needs to adopt self-care habits because mental health issues can affect everyone. It does not discriminate based on age, race, origin, gender or sexual orientation. Practicing positive self-care can look different for everyone, but it is important that a person listens to themselves and their needs and seek professional help if appropriate. Everyone deserves to receive the help they need.
Students realize that mental health is as important as physical health and can have an impact on your performance at school and in life.
“I think mental health is important because in nursing we look at health as a holistic thing. It’s just like not taking care of physical health like when you get sick with a cold. It’s like when you experience burnout or when you are super stressed. It’s not good for you,” said Rebecca Balyk, third-year nursing student.
It’s important for students to realize that failure is not the end all and be all. Grades are a measure of where and how someone can improve and it is never supposed to limit your growth. It’s detrimental to a person’s well-being if they are limited by one mistake. Growth and learning is a journey filled with peaks and valleys but it all works out in the end.
“I know specifically that you’re more than your grades. Just because you do not do well on your assignments or tests doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t going to come up no matter what,” said Liam Nielsen, second-year sports management student.
Several students have gone through similar issues or concerns regarding mental health. It’s safe to say if students come together and treat mental health as important as physical health that it will lessen the stigma around mental illness and cause more people to seek help if they need it.
“Mental health is a very important issue to me. I’ve dealt with mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, for a very long time and many people close to me have as well. I know what it’s like to feel lost and hopeless and what it’s like to overcome these feelings, and I want to use my experiences to help others and spread awareness,” said Mackenzie Sanderson, a third-year psychology student.
There are several resources on campus that students can reach out to if they have a mental health concern or need to speak to someone. Students have access to free personal counselling located in the Student Accessibility Office at 1-833-Brock33 and 20 minute drop in sessions are located in ST400. Peer Support is located in the Hub open 10:00 – 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Student Health Services has a mental health nurse available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on a first come serve basis. Also at SHS, students can be referred to a psychiatrist by a physician if necessary. There is also a 24 hour post-secondary hotline called Good 2 Talk which students can call at 1-866-925-5454 . If a student needs help there are resources available all around campus and the community. If you’re in an immediate mental health crisis please call 911.