Canadian Students Seek More Mental Health Assistance

University can be a very trying period in a person’s life. For many students, it is their first time living away from home. The work load is also much higher than high school, and when you combine all of these responsibilities together, it can be quite stressful. There is also the rising cost of education and the knowledge that, even if you get a degree, that is no guarantee of a job and you still must deal with student loans and other debts accumulated while in school.

Universities have some mental health supports in place for students, but these are seen as increasingly inadequate due to the number of people requesting them.

On the one hand, that growing number of students seeking supports indicates that the stigma associated with mental illness is decreasing. However, if there are an insufficient number of counselors and an especially long wait time, these people are not getting the help that they seek, making their bravery seem futile.

There is also the issue of how serious the cases can be. Typically, students only see counselors for a handful of sessions, and that is not nearly enough for problems like major depression and suicidal ideation.

As a result, some students are seeking private counseling. There are many well-qualified and beneficial therapists in this country, and their wait times are typically much faster than those funded by the government. However, there is the issue of cost. These therapists typically charge north of $100 an hour for an appointment, which is often well beyond what a typical student can afford given their other financial responsibilities.

So, what is the answer? Ideally, we need to increase access and decrease wait times for students needing this help. However, like so many things in life, it always seems to boil down to money. That is very unfortunate.

Signs of Depression

Do you ever feel down? We’re sure you do. Everyone does. You wouldn’t be normal if you felt happy and upbeat all of the time. However, like all things in life, there is a balance and if you find yourself feeling sad too often, then you might be suffering from depression.

Here are a few signs that you could be in the grips of depression and need to speak with a mental health counselor:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • No longer interested or deriving pleasure from hobbies, sex, or other activities previously of interest
  • Lingering feeling of guilt
  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Feeling that you are slowing down physically and mentally
  • Thoughts of suicide and/or persistent thinking of death
  • Lack of energy or persistent tiredness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Feelings of anxiety and restlessness
  • Feeling that you are worthless
  • Pain coming on for no apparent reason
  • Difficulty thinking or remembering

If you are experiencing one or more of these issues, it is time to take the next step. Speak to your family doctor to get their opinion. If they feel a mental health check is warranted, ask them for a recommendation of who to see.

Not every client is compatible with every mental health professional. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is bad at their job. However, people must feel very comfortable when talking to a therapist because personal feelings and other issues will undoubtedly come up. The only way to get effective results from a therapy session is to be honest and open. That means trusting your therapist.

If you don’t feel comfortable and the ability to be open to that person, then see someone else. Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings; they are a professional and know that not every client is a good fit for them.