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Understanding Mental Health on
0 What is Mental Health?
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) describes mental illness as,
“…characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour (or a
combination), and impaired functioning over an extended period of time.
The symptoms vary from mild to severe depending on the type, the
individual, the family and socio-economic environment”.
Mental health being a disease of the mind is much like a disease of the
body, no one chooses the disease but with appropriate awareness, early
detection, and treatment recovery is possible. (CMHA 2013)
Recognizing the Challenges:
0 It is important to promote positive mental health
throughout the college rather than solely focusing on
those individuals identified as having mental health
problems; this ensures an effort in creating a sense of
belonging for all students.
0 This can be accomplished by school programming.
Specific programs designed to promote Mental Health
and social skills include: Skills training, role playing,
positive feedback, modeling and self-reflection.
Mental Health Issues May lead to:
Students leaving post-secondary institutions due to
difficulties in learning, behaviour, and performance
Developing strategies within post-secondary institutions
and implementing polices and services will engage the
student body to become informed about the prevalence of
mental health.
Aboriginal Students:
0 First Nations, Inuit and Métis students face unique
mental health challenge including the lack of
investment in mental health services.
0 By the time they reach age 25, approximately 20
percent of Canadian children and youth will have
developed a mental illness. To prevent serious mental
health problems in the future early intervention and
detection is essential.
Risk Assessment:
One in four young adults between the ages of 18-24 has a
diagnosable mental illness.
More than 25 percent of college students have been
diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health
condition within the past year.
More than 45 percent of young adults who stopped attending
college because of mental health reasons did not request
Students experiencing a better understanding of how to
address their mental health issues are more able to engage in
their community and society.
According to six Ontario post-secondary institutions data was
collected and is summarized below:
0 Approximately 4% of students have a psychiatric condition
0 Approximately 15% of students have been treated by a
professional for one or more mental health problems
0 38% of students suffer from stress
0 26% Suffer from sleep disturbances
0 26% Suffer from anxiety
0 Approximately 53% of students indicated they felt
overwhelmed by anxiety
0 Approximately 36% felt so depressed they found it difficult
to function
According to the Council of Ontario Colleges and Universities, Focus on
Mental Health 2012 article the following statistics reflect the severity of
this issue among young students:
0 Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people
0 Youth suicide is five to seven times higher among aboriginal
0 Less than 24 percent of young people suffering from a mental
illness receive help
0 70 percent of adults with a mental health issue experience their
first symptoms at the age of 18
Training and Support for
faculty and staff
0 Mental Health First Aid Training
0 ASIST suicide intervention training
0 Mental Health EDU- Identifying Students in Distress
0 Ontario College Counsellors- Trained to facilitate
Safetalk: Suicide awareness and intervention at each
0 Canadian Mental Health Association-
0 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
0 Resources:
0 Changing Directions Changing Lives-The Mental Health Strategy for Canada.
0 School-based Mental Health and Substance Abuse: A review of Systematic Reviews and Meta-
0 Mental Health and well-being in post-secondary education settings, June 2011
0 Canadian Mental Health Association 2013