By Mario Belan
Taking a test about depression and anxiety could be key to addressing mental health problems, counsellors at Humber’s north campus said Tuesday.
Anyone can voluntarily take a one-page questionnaire, which would give them a score on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales, students were told. The message was part of February mental health events at the college known as iWill.
The questionnaire “has a list of 21 questions that you rate yourself on,” said Semone Kassim a counsellor at Humber.
“Based on your scores we can provide you with suggestions on what to do,” she said.
Kassim said, for students who score high on the test they can be referred to the counselling at Humber or a doctor elsewhere.
“The [DASS] is good for students to get a sense of depression and anxiety,” said counsellor Liz Sokol, one of four counsellors at the event.
Those who took part in the screening received self-care kits, and tips on how to reduce stress during this school year.
The “campaign is about empowering students,” said manager of student wellness and development, Dr. Rummy Gill.
Teachers are also equipped to recognize the signs of depression or anxiety said Gill. “They took a mental health first-aid class,’’ she said.
It’s a two-day course where teachers can spot and recognize someone who is in need. Teachers will be able to guide the student and show them the appropriate help, she said.
Inside the kits are a stress relief ball, blindfold and earplugs for sleeping, a journal, snacks that promote healthy eating and exercise, and a USB stick that contains more information about depression and anxiety.
The USB has a counselling brochure that contains contact information on where to get help. It also contains health and wellness tips for breathing, diet and sleep.
“Events like these are to make the students more aware,” said Sokol. Counsellors are here to help students when they need us, she said.
“I can say it seems students are referring others to counselling,” said Kassim.
It’s important for students that have depression or anxiety to come out, she said. “There is a lot of stigma, and I hope events like this can raise awareness,” said Kassim.
Sokol gave us a quick tip about dealing with anxiety. “Take a second, take a break,” she said.
Humber will also be holding this event at the Lakeshore campus on Wednesday, February 4.