A couple dozen LMP students gathered to what became an extremely engaging, interesting and open discussion of mental health among U of T students. Dr. Andrea Levinson and Janine Robb, psychiatrist in chief and executive director respectively of Health and Wellness U of T, gave a talk on the importance of discussing mental health, the different forms that mental illnesses can take on and the opportunities available for students seeking help.
Accompanied by a plethora of pizza and soda, Dr. Levinson opened with addressing the different forms of mental illnesses including bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and depression. She introduced the premise that current undergraduate students are at a transitional stage, facing many changes in major events of their lives (ie. living on your own, university classes, new relationships etc.). Basically, for many, this time of our lives is like the more serious, more subtle second round of those cringe-worthy teenage years some of us may have gone through.
Whether it may seem like it or not, it’s an important time to erase stigma associated with poor mental health and openly acknowledge when there’s something not quite right. Fortunately, both speakers agreed that U of T students did exceptionally well in regards to mental health and overall well being despite the added amount of extra stress we face. However, the seminar touched on an important concept: even though an individual may be flourishing, they may still suffer mental illness regardless of how outwardly invisible it may be. Many such things may be difficult to treat but in general, Janine suggests that a daily dose of mindfulness in a quiet setting, devoid of technology (I know, the thought of leaving your phones/computers at bay must already by giving some of you anxiety) is critical in diluting stress and mental illness symptoms.
The health and wellness centre is attempting to reform their programs to accommodate more students and undertake a wider variety of issues. They offer many services for counselling, therapy and workshops. Visit their website at http://healthandwellness.utoronto.ca/.
Till next time,
Your webmaster, Lisa