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DC offers multiple resources for students’ mental health, but some feel more hands-on support is needed

More than 60 per cent of college students around the world suffer from mental health, according to McGill University.

Thirty per cent of students experience clinical depression, 50 per cent experience depressive symptoms that leave them low functioning, and 65 per cent experience overwhelming anxiety, the study says.

The global pandemic has significantly impacted mental health, with depression rates doubling and anxiety rates quadrupling, according to Statistics Canada.

College is when students start to experience adulthood, but Covid-19 has taken away many of the experiences students were looking forward to.

As students return to everyday life, they find themselves overwhelmed with the workload they are experiencing.

So, how is it that these students at Durham College and Ontario Tech handle their mental health?

Durham College offers many supports, such as counseling and wellness coaching. The college even hosts a podcast called WellPod, which talks about what it means to be “well” and DIY wellness every Thursday at 3 p.m.

While the accessibility coach or wellness coach at Access and Support Centre (ASC) was unavailable to speak to the Chronicle, the office provided a list of available support and resources.

There are several resources available to students who require support. The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) is dedicated to advocating for individuals who require assistance. Also, the Durham College Student Association (DCSA) provides various programs and services, such as creating health plans, offering safety tips, providing support for the LGBTQ+ community, and offering counseling services.

The Sexual Violence, Education and Response team is committed to educating, raising awareness, and supporting individuals affected by sexual violence. In addition to on-campus resources, Durham College also offers off-campus support. The Ontario 211 Community and Social Services Help Line is available and can be reached by dialing 211.

Angie Gasper, a Durham College student, says some forms of support are insufficient to form a relationship.

“I don’t know, I feel like it’s just not personal enough, I don’t feel connected to a person behind the screen,” Gaspar says.

Gaspar expresses that while it is great the student center association shows awareness, the idea of professors being aware and helping students by being hands-on would be better as students spend time with professors the most.

Morgan Bailey, an 18-year-old Durham College student, says: “It seemed like I was talking more and being less listened to.”

Bailey says that the performative idea of supporting mental health is different from what the students need but action to prove there is always someone there to help.

She says that while the college is aware of mental health, it must do more than email students. They need hands-on action, she said.

Many students need to be made aware of the help and support that can be given at Durham College and Ontario Tech.

“I don’t know if they have it, but if they do have someone on campus where you can go and just talk or something in person, that would help a lot. But if they have it, they should have better advertisement of it because I don’t know if they do,” Gaspar explains.

Students have many ways to deal with mental health themselves. “I like to keep to myself and do things I like,” says 23-year-old Sara Esongola.

Other students said they like sleeping it off and waking up to a new day.

Some prefer to disconnect from social media and spend time with close friends. Other things students can try include exercising, practicing mindfulness and yoga, relaxing, enjoying the small things, eating full meals, engaging in writing, getting a full eight hours of sleep, and being creative.

“I get a lot of support with my friends, we just talk about our feelings when we are having a rough time,” Gaspar says.