Student Mental Health

A Silent Epidemic: The Mental Health Crisis In Our Schools
Image credits: LA johnson/NPR

Owing to the serious shortage of resources, increase in population, high unemployment and increased competition exacerbated by the pandemic and the online mode of working, the youth of today are facing enormous amounts of pressure which has led to the rapid increase in mental health issues for a large section of the young population today. Personally, the past one year has been quite challenging. Online learning coupled with a huge time zone difference has wreaked havoc on my life and the lives of several others in my position. Thus, I think in these trying times, it is extremely important for us to encourage people to seek help should they need it and remove any stigma that may surround mental health. Even when people are aware about mental health issues, they often don't seek help because they self diagnose and brush it aside and this is precisely what needs to be changed. As students, we are often managing competing deadlines which leads to our health- both physical and mental taking a backseat. Skipping meals, experiencing burnout, sleeping very few hours each day, constantly feeling stressed etc are but a few of the unhealthy habits that most of us will relate to. And when this has become the norm- the only way to deal with deadlines, it becomes all the more imperative that we take active measures to safeguard and protect our mental and physical health. 

To further this cause, about two months ago, I became a member of the St Michael's College Student Union(SMCSU) Mental Health and Accessibility Committee and our work here includes promoting and developing mental health and accessibility initiatives and planning events such as socials, workshops and more. We also collaborate with other student groups and leaders and work together to increase the visibility of mental health and accessibility resources. A major motivation for me joining this committee was not only to help others but to learn, absorb and help myself as well in the process. I do believe that mental health is a very pertinent issue of our time and it is imperative that we continue doing significant work in this field so that access to mental health resources is not a barrier to good mental health for our students and by extension society as well. 

There are several ways that interested students can get involved and learn more about mental health resources at UofT. For students looking to access these services, U of T Telus Health Student Support (formerly U of T My SSP) provides counselling support to students who reside out of province/country. For those in Ontario, there are a host of services available including group therapy, single session counselling, short term counselling etc. Students who wish to get involved in clubs/ committees etc to promote mental health can look to join clubs such as Healthy Minds UofT(HMUT), The University of Toronto Mental Health Student Association (UOFTMHSA) as well as college student union specific committees and clubs.

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