This section recognizes the crucial role that fellow students and friends have in supporting the mental health of everyone. Classmates are often the first to recognize that a friend may be in distress. In order to learn how to help, it is important that you understand the various characteristics of poor mental health/illness. View the “Mental Health Continuum” below. Most students are in the Healthy or Reacting stages. Students move back and forth as they react to the pressures of living and postsecondary studies. About 1 in 3 postsecondary students may slip from Reacting to Injured if not supported or assisted when help is needed. About 1 in 5 Canadians will experience the far end of the continuum, Illness, and will require the support of professionals.
You may find information to help you understand mental illnesses in the Quick Facts about Mental Illness section and there is a downloadable PDF version of this information for you as well. Each section has additional resources, videos or guides to further assist you in understanding these disorders.
One major way you can get involved is to consider your college’s peer mentoring program. The Canadian Mental Health Association has created a manual to accompany your college’s existing peer mentoring program and encourages you to reach out to others. You can discuss this with your counselling/advising services.
Finally, consider becoming proactive by viewing the Students in Action section that will give you some ideas to build awareness and keep healthy yourself.
You can make a difference.