UofG Mental Health Check-Up
Tuesday, February 24, 20150 Comments
By Kathleen Slemon
At the recent CSA Annual General Meeting, the idea of a fall reading week to improve student well-being was hotly debated. Many universities now have longer semesters with a break in the fall as well as the winter to ease the burden on students.
Last year, students voted on having an extra day off on the Thanksgiving long weekend, which seems like a step in the right direction for those who want a reading week, and a nuisance for those who don’t. Though it’s unclear whether or not we will soon have a fall reading week, Guelph does offer other ways to protect student’s mental well-being.
A Guelph student’s accessibility to mental health resources is very different than the average person’s, with the above resources representing only a portion of what is offered and is free to boot. To get professional help, one must usually be covered under secondary insurance (i.e. through work), an individual usually has to be diagnosed with a mental illness, and are often put on waiting lists.
The average person cannot afford mental health services out of pocket, yet Guelph is offers multiple barrier-free resources for students to choose from if they so need it.
The question remains however, how do Guelph students look after themselves? There is still a stigma attached to seeking help, and many students wait until they hit a boiling point before seeking professional services, but what can be done to manage the day to day stress of student life?
“I just try to get a lot of sleep and surround myself with people that make me happy. I get overly sensitive when I am tired and I can get very lonely and upset when I don't spend enough time with my friends” says Catherine Brassard, a Brain and Cognition Student.
Kelsey Moir, a third year animal biology student, had a similar approach with a different kind of friend. She says her pets keep her going: “Having a dog and a bearded dragon keep me sane during the gruesome Guelph winters!”
Angie Corredor, a fourth year psychology student, found that time alone helped more than time with others. “I treat myself to cravings and enjoy time alone and have learnt to say no to going out with my friends as this usually causes anxiety.” She also took a mindfulness meditation class one semester which she found helpful in grounding herself when things got especially tough.
The university also offers students a chance to be proactive about their health by providing services available to everyone, not just those with a diagnosed mental health issue.
Counselling Services:Counselling Services offer professional, one-to-one services to help students overcome whatever they may be dealing with, offered for free through the university.
Wellness Education Center:Runs regular workshops and provides resources and information about many wellness issues, including mental and physical wellness.
Student Support Network:A volunteer organization provided through the Wellness Education Center, SSN provides confidential and trained peer support and a safe drop in space. The Student Support Network is ideal for students who feel they need to talk but don’t necessarily want or feel they need professional counselling.
https://www.uoguelph.ca/mentalwellbeing/: An online directory of the resources that the university offers to help protect mental well-being that covers multiple factors relating to mental health.
Everyone has different ways of coping and it’s important to take the time to reflect on what works for you, and be mindful about what triggers stress or anxiety. The university and your peers can be a great resource to maintain your mental well-being, especially since the services it provides go above and beyond what the average person has access to.