Mental health awareness at Humber College

Jan 28, 2020 | Campus News

Raymond Brooks

Bell says let’s talk. Humber talked.

Students across Humber and Guelph-Humber kick off mental health awareness week through a variety of community events, positivity workshops, and roundtable discussions.

One such discussion was arranged by Elise Clark, a fourth-year psychology Guelph-Humber student.

“Mental health to me is the degree that you can accurately and fully express emotions and handle resiliency,” said Clark. “For example, maintaining your mental composure is similar to maintaining your physical health.”

Clark is also a psychology program representative and the president of the Guelph Humber Psych Society.

A common question at the discussion was how to support their friends who may be struggling with their mental health.

“It’s important to ask questions, and if you ask them how can you support them,” said Randi-Mae Stanford-Leibold, a Toronto-based crisis support worker and personal strategist. “Giving them time to introspect and think about what they’re feeling is always important.”

Stanford-Leibold is also a published author, and graduate of Guelph-Humber for Applied Science.

The colouring board for mental health mindfulness in the Guelph-Humber Atrium. Taken on January 28, 2020. (Raymond Brooks)

The Psych Society plans social events for psychology students to interact in academic atmospheres with their peers and professors throughout the year. This includes supporting Bell Let’s Talk events.

“Today’s activity is meant to relieve mental stress and practice mindfulness,” said Amanda Lopresti, a second-year Psychology student and member of the Psych Society. “This includes making stress bean bags, collaborative colouring, and signing the banner.”

“I think the colouring is very therapeutic, relaxing,” said Rosie Arulanandam, a fourth-year psychology student and member of the Psych Society. “It lets your mind wander naturally and is a good example of mindfulness practices.”

Brittany W. adding to the collaborative art display in the Guelph-Humber Atrium. Taken on January 28, 2020. (Raymond Brooks).

Another purpose of the events is to clear up misunderstandings about people struggling with mental health.

“Everybody has mental health, whereas mental illness is actually a diagnosable disorder or disease,” said Clark. “I think the most common and damaging misconceptions are that people struggling with mental illness are weak, don’t have friends or constantly seek counselling.”

Clark also described that people usually tell here they don’t need to talk to someone if they have friends and family.

Brittany W. supporting Bell Let’s Talk through artwork in the Guelph-Humber Atrium. Taken on January 28, 2020. (Raymond Brooks).

“It’s important to have a neutral third-party observer help you understand where your problems might be stemming from, as opposed to a more subjective view from friends and family,” said Clark.

Another part of these events during mental health awareness week is to inform students where they can find resources on campus.

“At Guelph Humber, if you do go to academic advising, they will connect you with the resources that you need to manage time management or anxiety from the demands of an academic course load,” said Clark. “Oftentimes, they will refer you to SWAC.”

SWAC (Student Wellness & Accessibility Centre), is the hub on campus for student assistance and support. They offer counselling services including one-time consultations or regular appointments.

Bell Let’s Talk day is a yearly awareness campaign held since 2011, meant to support mental health in Canada.

The Humber campaign concludes in the North campus LRC concourse from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Lakeshore Campus in A170 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Bell Let’s Talk banner and colouring board in the Guelph-Humber Atrium. Taken on January 28, 2020. (Raymond Brooks).