Mental matters

A Frosh Week focus on mental health isn’t something unique to Queen’s, according to a Sept. 9 article from the Globe and Mail.

At the University of Western Ontario, former Barenaked Ladies front man Steven Page discussed the importance of on-campus support for mental health. The University of Alberta offered first years a tour of available mental health services.

Queen’s has expanded mental health resources this fall, added the Peer Support Centre to the annual frosh tour of Kingston and has continued involvement with the Jack Project.

Campus counseling services are reporting higher instances of depression, loneliness and anxiety each year, causing universities to act.

Coming to university in an unfamiliar town, leaving a comfortable home and situation can be a jarring experience. The effect can be detrimental for a student’s mental wellness.

Mental health is still a relatively new field and one that is commonly misunderstood or stigmatized. One of the best ways to ameliorate the situation is to maintain a conversation on the subject and continue to push the boundary of understanding.

People need to talk about their struggles with mental health earnestly and without shame.It’s the only way the issue will be normalized.

In tandem with personal stories, students need to be exposed to effective and factual information about mental health, including symptoms, causes and how conditions are treated. Equipping them with this information will enable them to seek help should the need ever arise. Professional help needs to be made available to those who need it. There’s a level of confidentiality and skill that cannot be found outside a professional.

As it currently stands, Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS) is underequipped to deal with the magnitude of students’ mental health needs. HCDS deserves more funding and staff so that students don’t doubt the availability of resources.

While Frosh Week changes mark small steps to ensure a healthy mental state for those on campus, it’s important to keep in mind that the problem is ongoing.

The overwhelming anxiety experienced when an extension isn’t granted or penalties are applied to a grade is something many university students have experienced.

Sometimes students and professors have adversarial relationships.Transitioning to a relationship of mutual understanding rather than preserving the rigid rules in place would be a helpful step towards improving the general stress on campus.

Mental health is impacting the lives of students more and more. It’s only appropriate the community be prepared.

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