This week, Oct. 4 to 10, is Mental Illness Awareness Week in Canada, a national public education campaign designed to help open people’s eyes to the reality of mental illness.
The reality is mental illness affects a large part of the population. One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year and every week 500,000 Canadians miss work due to mental illness.
And while pursuing your academic and career goals can be an exciting and rewarding experience, it can also come with a whole new set of challenges and stresses, which can lead to mental health problems for many students.
The National College Health Association conducts an annual survey of Canadian post-secondary students. In 2019, the survey found that many respondents reported that anxiety (34.6%), depression (24.2%) and stress (41.9%) had affected their academic performance within the previous 12 months.
However, there are resources available for University Canada West students who might be struggling with stress and mental health problems.
All UCW Students are enrolled into the Keep.meSAFE program when they start their studies. Keep.meSAFE is the industry’s foremost mental health support program for students, particularly for international students, with the goal of helping those having trouble settling into their new surroundings.
The Keep.meSAFE program is available 24/7, 365 days a year and can be accessed on multiple different platforms, which makes it easier for a student who is struggling and has a busy schedule. Students can reach out to a counsellor through a range of platforms. Including through the app, messenger, the web chat on their website or via voice and video call.
Keep.meSAFE connects students to counsellors who are experienced in helping both domestic and international students. Many counsellors can talk to students in a variety of languages and have knowledge of different cultures to help better relate to your problems.
Students can learn more about Keep.meSAFE at keepmesafe.org, download the free My SSP app or phone 1-844-451-9700 toll free, or through UCW’s Student Affairs department.
Additionally, the BC government earlier this year announced Here2Talk, a service that connects post-secondary students in BC with 24/7 mental health support.
Available online, via an app or over the phone, Here2Talk is a resource for students wanting help with issues including depression, anxiety, loneliness, pressure to perform, crises, racism and relationships.
The free service is available online in English and French. Other languages are available by phone.
Counsellors can also help students connect with mental health resources in their communities.
To learn more about Here2Talk, visit www.here2talk.ca or call 1-877-857-3397 toll-free or 604-642-5212 direct.
Published on Oct. 7, 2020.