Sounding off on mental health University students share their experiences with mental health resources on campus

1
counselling-01 (1)
If you are finding it tough to navigate Counselling Services here is what is available to you. Graphic by Sophie Lin.

Experiences with Counselling Services:

“I heard the next appointment I could get was a month from then. I remember feeling like the door was just shut at that point. They [The university’s health care providers] know that they have a very small window in which to help their students, and if they really cared about them it would actually be important to them to have more staff available during appropriate times for the students.” – Lisa Ramraj

The system’s biggest flaw right now:

The quality of the manpower, the actual manpower itself, and the “cali-or-bust” mentality. You can say you have X number of doctors on staff but if they make their patients feel as though their struggles are not being taken seriously then they are useless.  The whole “cali-or-bust” mentality may seem harmless and some people say it acts as a motivator, but it can be soul crushing. I had to wrestle with this one a few terms ago when applying for co-ops. Cali isn’t everything. Just getting a job and being able to do well enough to stay at this university is a huge achievement in and of itself.” – Lisa Ramraj

The biggest flaw in the system would be assuming students are able to get help on their own  … If I can barely get out of bed to get a decent meal, how can I possibly find initiative and motivation to walk to campus, over to the mental health service building, and ask for help? There are individuals who feel ashamed of their mental illness or deny that they have one yet continue to suffer in silence. […] Your job should be more than just teaching, it is to guide, teach, encourage, motivate, BE THERE for your students.” – Brenda Linares

Thoughts on recent campus tragedy:

I was really saddened about both suicides. It affected me tremendously and I emailed my counselor to book an appointment. She replied the next day with a list of her available dates, but March was fully booked; this time is the busiest due to final exams. I couldn’t help but wonder if both students would still be alive today had they received the proper help or resources that they needed.” – Bettina Eyales

On Reddit:

  • “What I want is a statement that recognizes that mental health support is a necessity on a college campus and I want to see steps being taken to improve the level of care given here.”
  • “What bugs me is UW’s solution to the problem being more group workshops, fewer one-on-one counselling, introducing drop-ins, and enormous wait times while refusing to hire more staff.”
  • “It appears that a lot of students have also been turned away during their intake appointments and discouraged from seeking one-on-one therapy because the school is already overloaded.”

Recently there was also a Reddit post, since removed, about an email sent by a systems design engineering professor to his students. His message addressed gaps and pitfalls of the current system.

“I am part of a violent system that misunderstands education as a competition, a culture that is not based on care and love, a mentality and attitude that worships success and achievement, a system in which a human is reduced to a set of numbers: ID, grades, and ranking. Competition is destroying us gradually, and, from time to time, it takes one of us away, physically, in the isolation of a student’s room, when the pressures mount so overwhelmingly that the colourful flowers of life in a young soul have no chance to blossom. […] I do not care if your grade is high or low, I do not care if your co-op position is prestigious or not, I do not find any value in those end-of-term rankings you see. I do care about your faces when you laugh in the class, I do care about your tough questions when you challenge me, I do care about those emails you send me after your graduation. From now till I am alive: Let me know if you need to talk to me. I will be there for you.”

Imprint reached out to the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science for a statement as Chase Graham was a CS student.

“We mourn the recent loss of a first-year Computer Science student and express our sincere condolences to the student’s friends and family.  We recognize the imperative for an open conversation about mental health in our community and the need to ensure that people who are struggling are aware of available supports and how to access them. For Computer Science students in particular, we have taken a number of steps to assist them with making a transition into a post-secondary environment, including smaller class sizes for first year students and communications courses designed to build confidence. We are also implementing additional training for TAs, instructors, and academic staff who provide support to our students on a regular basis.”

– Dr. Mark Giesbrecht, Director of the School of Computer Science

Some mental health resources available to you.