Supporting Student Mental Health – Part 2: Digital Counselling

student books on desk looking out window pensive

As students struggle to adjust to new environments and social systems, the sense of security that comes from being anonymous on the Internet can seem like an effective way to establishing relationships. This can affect an individual’s identity formation, including the ability to become aware of their lifestyle, goals, abilities, needs and related factors.

Some students may use the anonymity of the Internet to create or re-create a sense of self, believing that these characteristics will transfer to their real life personas.  These students tend to use the Internet excessively to maintain their online relationships, often at the cost of their academic success, and real life interactions.…

Supporting Student Mental Health – Part 1: The Current State

sad teenager waiting for a trainThe Centre for Addiction and Mental Health states that 70% of mental illnesses have their onset during  childhood or adolescence but that only 25% of young people in Canada with mental health problems receive professional help. 

A 2009 study by the American College Health Association included data from six Ontario universities and found that:

  • 51 to 60% of respondents in the province reported feeling hopeless;
  • 33 to 43% of students reported feeling so depressed they were unable to function;
  • 6 to 9% considered suicide in the 12 months before they answered the survey questions.

The Ontario University Students Alliance published findings indicating that students who do eventually receive help, wait an average of seven days for a counselling appointment.…