By Julianne Fox
Today marks World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health issues worldwide but at Humber, helping students is a year-round focus.
“I’m a big believer that really important issues shouldn’t be left to one day events,” says Meg Houghton, director of student access, wellness and development. “It’s nice that we have World Mental Health Day, but really everyday is mental health day for us.”
Mental Health Day mobilizes mental health issues around the world and at Humber big improvements have been made to get the dialogue started.
“There’s probably no student at Humber who’s been able to miss our recent We Got You campaign,” says Houghton. The campaign is intended to profile all of the services that are available to students, from building community, getting involved, and connecting to necessary services.
According to Houghton, We Got You has helped normalize help seeking behavior among the student population. “[The initiative] is really critical for students who might be beginning to experience anxiety or depression for example,” says Houghton.
Last year, the health department assisted Humber Student Federation (HSF) in a mental health fair. It is expected to run again this year and Houghton says it will allow her to build on the good work that’s already on the way.
There are 700 faculty and staff members at Humber trained in mental health first aid – more than any other college in the Ontario college system.
In the past year, Humber has hired a psychologist and a mental health nurse. A health promotion co-ordinator was added just this past week.
Houghton has worked hard to build a framework to ensure that students have everything they need to support their mental health.