Everyone experiences stress—and it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Whether it’s school or work issues, personal problems, the gloomy weather, a combination of the above or something else, it’s important to recognize that your mental health is important and what you can do about it.
About one in five youth experience mental health conditions and 75% of young people aged 25 and below show signs of mental health problems (Ontario Universities, 2020). As well, the number of students on college and university campuses identifying themselves as someone with mental health disabilities has more than doubled in the past five years (Ontario Universities, 2020). Many students rely on on-campus services to help deal with their mental health and find support. What does this say about the current climate around mental health on post-secondary campuses? What needs to change for universities to offer more mental health services to students?
A Canadian university-wide survey done in 2017 found that on-campus mental health and health services make up a large portion of the tuition costs of students (Ontario Universities, 2020). Students use these services to their advantage, but some do not find it at all helpful. About 46% of students feel depressed because of this and other things. Universities offer a lot of great health and mental health services for young people, but the pressures of school and society can put a damper on youth.
With many university students feeling this pressure universities have found innovative ways for students to deal with their mental health. For example, universities offer a wide range of services through peer support, counseling, wellness workshops and therapy dogs. Universities have also turned to increasing more funding towards student lead mental health initiatives and programs. In some universities like Ryerson and University of Toronto have implemented mental health awareness training for staff and professors to understand and react if a mental health situation were to occur.
Some ways for students to improve their mental health can be done by treating yourself with kindness, breathing exercises and quieting the mind. It is important to understand that everyone goes through mental health in different ways and that asking for help is okay. We at LEAP Canada will continue to talk about mental health and what are some strategies students can handle it. With time management, organization and reaching out to friends or family when you need help are things that LEAP has talked about in the organizations webinar.
Ultimately, remember to take time for yourself and use the strategies listed above. There are countless other sources that are available online, so remember to make the most of them too. Taking care of your mental health always pays off—don’t underestimate it, take care of it!