Less than three weeks ago, on March 15, hundreds of students from the University of Waterloo walked out of their class to demand better mental health services on campus. Holding placards and chanting, the students each took it in turns to speak about their experiences with the university’s mental health services. Some spoke of long wait times to see a counsellor, while others said they felt “unheard” after meeting them.
The protest, organized by the students themselves, was in response to the recent suicide death of a 22-year-old student who took his life at the university’s student residence at the beginning of March. It’s clear that there is a need for increased mental health support, and that applies to all walks of life – not just schools.
School can be a difficult time for anyone, especially those travelling abroad to study. A young person is forced out of their comfort zone, away from their home comforts, with the added pressure to succeed at every piece of work they submit. This is a stressful period for any young adult, the need to suddenly adapt to new routines and environments can cause underlying mental health issues to rise to the service. While worldwide attitudes towards mental health are changing, further support is clearly required.
Where can students find support?
Mental health support isn’t as accessible to students as it should be, but there are numerous options out there for young adults who need it. With around 75 per cent of mental health disorders first appearing before the age of 25, it’s important that students receive the correct support when they need it. Students who are struggling to cope with anything from anxiety to addiction are actively encouraged to seek help at schools, but there are numerous other ways students can find support.
Of course, a student’s first port of call for mental health support should always be their school. While schools can certainly do better, which is something they are constantly striving to achieve, they will be able to give students mental health support that is tailored to their needs. However, if this isn’t quite the right fit for you, there are other platforms you can receive mental health support:
Provincial helplines – Most provinces across Canada have provincial mental health helplines that are free of charge. The Ontario Mental Health Helpline or the Alberta Health Services Mental Heal Help Line are two examples of government bodies which provide free support and resources to help those in need of support. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Not-for-profit – Many provinces also have not-for-profit organizations which offer support to students for free, such as the Canadian Mental Health Association or the Crisis Line Association of BC. These organizations offer support such as suicide intervention, emotional support, and general information to help those in need. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Counselling – For students looking for face-to-face help away from a school, personal counselling is another option. Psychological studies have shown evidence that counselling and therapy offers great mental and physical health benefits. Counsellors work to get to know you and tailor their approach to help solve your problems.
Support from StudyInsured
Students who purchase insurance with Ingle International or StudyInsured gain access to our mental wellness support service, at no extra cost. The Stay Healthy at School program addresses the wide variety of issues that international students can face, from homesickness and academic stress, to depression and anxiety, addiction and substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, as well as offering crisis management.
The support service gives students access to counselling support from qualified counsellors with years of clinical experience, at the touch of a button. It is accessible through multiple platforms, including face-to-face, toll-free phone line, by text, through video, or through secure email. This means they are available to students 24/7, wherever they are, with support offered in more than 180 languages.
Students face a lot of stress, and no matter how small or large you believe your issue is, the team at Ingle International encourages you to come forward and share your story. Whether it is with the StudyInsured helpline or one of the other many platforms for support that we have mentioned here, don’t be afraid to seek help.
For more articles on health and travel tips, visit Ingle International’s blog page.