Mind Matters targets anxiety management among international communities

Feb 8, 2024 | Campus News, News

Mind Matters, an exclusive event for international students at Humber to support mental well-being, was organized on Feb. 6 at the North campus.

The workshop was a collaboration of the Humber Global Team with the Spirituality and Wellness Centre to support international students’ mental health awareness and management.

It was a follow-up event of Humber Let’s Talk, a week to support the mental well-being of Humber’s communities held last month.

In 2022, Humber also introduced the Well-being Strategy to prioritize well-being in all aspects and advocate a healthier environment for the campus culture.

Mind Matters attracted international students from different countries, sharing their issues and challenges in college life in a global education environment.

Haidaly Sayago, a representative from the International Centre, shared her challenges as a Humber alumni.

“Anxiety can hold us in small doses. Different ways that can see anxiety in your mind and body,” said Stephanie Boache, coordinator of Spirituality and Wellness Centre and an international student from Italy. “You can feel fear, dread, uneasiness, or paranoia.”

Headache, nostalgia, restlessness, chest tie, panic, and shoulder up are common physical symptoms of anxiety and vary among individuals.

“If you don’t notice and manage the symptoms, it could feel difficult. It can also make it difficult to try new things, take risks, and decrease your self-esteem, causing you to feel unfulfilled in life,” said Boache.

Attendees had the chance to connect through group activities and by expressing their current problems, including academic pressure, financial concerns, isolation/homesickness, weather, cultural adjustment and language barriers.

Language barriers, finding a part-time job, and financial management were the top three issues discussed during the event.

Panellists learn how to determine and understand anxiety disorder through quizzes, mindfulness activities and box-breathing activities.

“It’s very important to have this kind of activity, especially for international students,” said Fabi Mijangos, a first-year international student from Mexico.

“It’s a good way for us to make new friends. The activities here are very helpful to share how we’re feeling or dealing with daily challenges.”

“The only thing I could say is they could organize in a bigger place next time. When I arrived here, there were many people, and I could not hear clearly,” Mijangos said.

The workshop provided students with multicultural food and guided them in making aromatherapy spray to stay calm and relieve stress.

“I started to do international student events and collaborate with the international centre because I feel like sometimes, they are not given the services they need,” Boache said.

“I cannot provide them everything they need, but I know one thing that helps their mental health and wellness, it’s belonging and having a community. Through this, they’re able to make connections and friends,” she said.

The coordinator of the Spirituality and Wellness Centre believes giving resources and unique communities is a great way to support international students.

The Spirituality and Wellness Centre provides resources and support for the Humber communities, with weekly events for international students announced regularly on Humber’s official Instagram.