Mental Health is a growing issue in universities and Brock is no exception, says Student Health Services director Melodie Shick-Porter.
Brock University has seen a steady increase in the number of students accessing mental health services since 2010, she said.
University students are reaching out more than ever for their mental health and help with coping. This is our way of responding to that need.
Student Health Services and Personal Counselling-SDC partnered to launch Brock’s new mental health website, an extensive site for everyone, with detailed information about mental health and wellness for students.
“University students are reaching out more than ever for their mental health and help with coping,” Shick-Porter said. “This is our way of responding to that need.”
Since 2010, she said Student Health Services and Personal Counselling have seen an approximate 100% increase in mental health visits, while the Services for Students with DisAbilities has had a 58 per cent increase in students identifying with mental health diagnosis as a primary or secondary disability in the last five years.
“This is not something isolated to Brock,” said Les McCurdy-Myers, manager of Personal Counselling and Student Leadership.
Anti-stigma campaigns, the availability of services and more awareness around mental health are reasons why more people are coming forward to seek help, he said.
Website project co-ordinator Kaitlyn Kerridge, a fourth-year Public Health student, said according to Statistics Canada, young adults aged 15-24 experience the highest incidence of mental disorders of any age group in Canada (CMHA, 2015).
“The stresses of academia often provoke mental health issues,” she said.
Mental health nurse Debbie MacCulloch said Brock students are lucky to have access to a wide range of services to support mental health.
“The website addresses everything from mental health and wellness to suicide,” she said.
Kerridge added, “As a community, students are really supported. The website is bringing the awareness to the students that this help exists.”
Shick-Porter said many levels of university administration, student services and faculty have expressed concern over the increase in the number of students with mental health concerns. Over the past several years, she said the complexity and severity of mental health issues has increased substantially. Student health services, counselling services and accessibility services, all provide assistance to students with mental health conditions.
“Even though we provide an integrated system between these services, we felt we needed to address the gap of having all of the resources available for mental health in one central resource,” she said. “We wanted our students, faculty and staff as well as family and friends to be able to access help for students and to have everyone able to navigate the services available at Brock. These services range from crisis management, stress and resilience techniques and information related to mental health and well-being.”
The site includes resources, links to services on campus and in the community and mental health information. As well, videos featuring students sharing their stories of mental illness and getting help.
“When people hear other students talk about what they are going through, they can find courage,” Kerridge said.
Visit the website at http://brocku.ca/mental-health