Mental health issues rose amid global pandemic

Oct 22, 2021 | Campus News, Et Cetera, News

Celeste Foesenek is just one of many college students struggling with mental health challenges during a time when rates of anxiety, depression and other conditions are spiking.

“I know so many college students who struggle with mental health issues, including myself,” said Foesenek, a Humber College beauty program student.

“It’s definitely hard to deal with, however, it’s really helpful to have someone to talk to about it with,” she said.

“I personally go to therapy, however, there are many different options depending on each person’s needs,” Foesenek said.

More than 6.7 million people live with mental health issues in Canada. It’s estimated that one in five post-secondary students are affected, rates that have been increasing under the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of social media, financial anxieties, pressure to succeed and the uncertainty of the future.

With midterms and assignment due dates coming up, it’s important for those feeling stressed to ask for help finding suitable coping mechanisms and healthy ways to destress.

Humber College offers many forms of support, including counselling services and virtual events.

But there may be a wait for support as there are only 10 counsellors for the 56,000 full-time and part-time students at Humber, OPSEU Local 562 Acting President Milos Vasic told Et Cetera.

Free, confidential counselling is available online or by phone, which can be booked through the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre by emailing or by phone at 416-675-5090.

Appointments are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. For immediate support, there are helplines available such as Good2Talk at 1-866-925-5454.

“During a counselling appointment students are welcome to discuss difficulties including school, home, in relationships, or just personal life,” said Vicki Digiovanni of the department of student success and engagement.

“Counsellors can support students by helping them work through their problems, setting wellness goals, or getting them connected to college and community resources,” she said.

Humber also offers programs to help students learn healthy coping skills. These include Peer-led Wellness groups, Healthy Minds for Stressful Times and Learn to Manage Your Emotions Group.

As well, the college offers programs for LGBTQ+ students and virtual events that discuss self-care, body image and body positivity, wellness and yoga.

Marina Mikhail, who works at the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre, said programs offered at the Resource Centre “focus on building community and supportive relationships among 2SLGBTQ+ students.”

Although not all Humber’s virtual events are about mental health, there are many that allow students to open up to one another, find comfort in knowing they are not alone and have fun in a safe space.