There is no doubt that the events of 2020 have been challenging for many, and two busy University Canada West (UCW) students are volunteering to help those struggling with anxiety.
Radheika Patel is in her final term in UCW’s MBA program. She first heard about Anxiety Canada back in February 2020 when the University held a pancake breakfast in the lobby at the West Pender Campus. On Valentine’s Day, UCW teamed up with Anxiety Canada to not only serve up pancakes but to create awareness around anxiety and resources available for managing it.
Radheika was volunteering at the pancake breakfast event when she saw that Anxiety Canada was also looking for volunteers.
“As far as I remember, I decided the same day to volunteer for the organization,” she said. “I decided to get into it as a part of my learning experience.”
Radheika said she decided to volunteer because she wanted to learn more about anxiety, adding that she has dealt with depression in the past. She said there seems to be more awareness around depression than anxiety.
“When it comes to anxiety, as far as I have noticed, so many people have it, but they don’t realize that they have it,” she said.
Radheika said she experienced some anxiety when she first moved to Canada to pursue earning her MBA at UCW.
“Moving to a new country all by yourself, managing everything like your studies, work, house, is difficult” she said. “I have had so many events where I didn’t know what to do, and I was anxious.”
Anxiety Canada develops free online, self-help and evidenced-based resources for anxiety. The organization developed the award-winning MindShift CBT app that helps Canadians manage anxiety using scientifically proven strategies.
Anxiety Canada established more than 20 years ago, also offers online courses and an online directory of mental health resources.
Since signing on to volunteer, Radheika has helped with online events aimed at aiding people dealing with anxiety around the COVID-19 pandemic and adjusting to the “new normal.”
Deepak James started UCW’s MBA program in January and started volunteering with Anxiety Canada in March. He said he was drawn to volunteering with the organization due to his own experience dealing with depression and anxiety.
“I consider it to be my responsibility to help people [struggling] with anxiety and depression,” he said. “Anxiety Canada gave me an opportunity to serve my purpose.”
Deepak is an Anxiety Canada Ambassador. He is helping to create awareness around anxiety and the resources available to deal with it.
“Due to COVID, our focus is on creating awareness through social media,” he said.
Both Deepak and Radheika acknowledge that juggling school, work and volunteering has its challenges.
“It is hard to manage school, part-time work and volunteering,” Deepak said. “However, I am receiving an enormous amount of support from UCW, Anxiety Canada and my co-workers, which is helping me balance my personal and professional life.”
Radheika, who also volunteers with other organizations in addition to Anxiety Canada, said: “I would say it is not easy at all. The studies, the work and the house duties itself are difficult to manage.”
She said that time management is key, adding that she makes sure to keep everything organized in her calendar.
“I mean, there are certain days where I really don’t have any energy to do anything, and this is when I take a break and relax,” she added.
For more information about Anxiety Canada visit anxietycanada.com.
All UCW students also have access to the keep.meSAFE program – a digital mental health support program. It is the industry’s first and only digital mental health support program for students, particularly international students, to help those having trouble settling into their new surroundings.
More information about keep.meSAFE can be found under the Student Affairs tab in the MyUCW Student Portal.
Published on Dec. 3, 2020.