Strengthening the Pack: Student Mental Health Initiatives
Lakehead Student Health and Wellness works to support our students’ mental health by building their individual capacity for resilience through a variety of programming, supports and initiatives ranging from stress management workshops, suicide prevention training, to our campus-wide mental health awareness week in January.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, post-secondary students were struggling with their mental health. The stressors that post-secondary students encounter such as academic performance, pressure to succeed, post-graduation plans, financial concerns, relationships with friends/family, and overall health (Beiter et al., 2015), are certainly linked to mental health disorders (Bruffaerts et al., 2018; Ebert et al., 2019; Karyotaki et al., 2020) and increased substance use (Metzger et al., 2017). The COVID-19 pandemic created a “perfect storm,” both introducing new and exacerbating a range of existing stressors for post-secondary students. One study found that mental health declined in 50% of young Canadians aged 18-24 during the pandemic.
Student Health and Wellness’ mission is to support Lakehead students’ wellbeing so that they can thrive in and out of the classroom. In addition to providing counselling to students, we aim to build students’ capacity for resilience through workshops and training opportunities while also raising awareness of mental health concerns and reducing the stigma of seeking help to address those concerns. Additional funding would help increase the number of offerings and opportunities available to all Lakehead students.
Funds will be used to facilitate events and opportunities that give our students the ability to support their own mental health and recognize signs of distress in others. Funds would be used to cover the cost of speakers, supplies and fees associated with hosting events, to promote mental health initiatives on campus and to subsidize the training fees for courses like Mental Health First Aid and SafeTalk.