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Improving Mental Wellness for International Students

March 22, 2022

This is a guest post from Rong (Angela) Ge, a current student at the Language Training Center, she is currently completing her practicum with the Campus Well-Being Unit at RRC Polytech. Angela graduated from Nanjing University with major in Psychology. She worked in an education service centre for the past three years and has helped hundreds of international students settle down in Winnipeg. For now, Angela is moving forward to study in the Health Care field and is focusing on the individual mental wellness in the community.

How Do we improve our mental wellness as International Student?

Studying abroad is a challenge for each and every international student. If you are an international student, do you have a moment like this? Not feeling well but can not tell your parents thousands of miles away, or feeling so lonely and overwhelmed at night?

The main cause of mental health barriers among the international students is that they are taking too much pressure. Therefore, it requires special attention on their mental wellness.

Academic Stress

Generally, most of the parents have high expectations. They hope their children can adapt quickly to a non-native language environment and achieve excellent scores. In fact, the students need more time to get used to the new environment, since they just arrived in a different country, meeting different people, having a different life style. However, when the international students are unable to achieve the desired goals, they are considered not working hard enough.

Economic pressure

Most international students, therefore, depend on their family savings to fund the tuition and living expenses. Compared with the local students, their tuition fees are much higher, and they need to live on a budget to keep life balanced.

Emotional and social stress

This barrier is particularly acute among international students. Initially, their parents who used to take care of them are far away, and the old friends who used to listen to them are not around. Lacking friends and social activities make international students feel even more lonely.

What can we do?

In this special period, all of us are gripping for a way out, but we should pay more attention to the international students, especially their psychological construction. Every international student is brave and excellent. It is worth praising that they can go abroad to live and study alone. However, since there are some misapprehensive voices in the society, many international students are afraid to seek help when they encounter psychological issues, for fear of being looked down upon.

Hopefully, every international student can be safe and healthy.

Here are some tips for improving mental wellness.

  • Develop a good habit

Good Habits are essential to our health. They can make the chances of achieving and maintaining our lifestyle goals such as exercising regularly and managing learning time, along with increasing quality of life.

  • Self-regulation

Take a break when we are facing with a tough situation. Take the time to think things through, make a plan, wait patiently before acting.

  • Get enough sleep

Sleep is an essential function that allows our body and mind to recharge. Healthy sleep helps us reduce stress and improve our mood, think more clearly and do better in school, and get along better with people.

  • Go outside and in the sun

Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping us feel calm and focused.

  • Live in the moment

Abraham Maslow once said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Only in the present can help us achieve true happiness, peace, and joy.

  • Seek help in the community

By the time reading this blog, there is no doubt that you are a member of this community. To support students and staff to stay well in spirit and mind, RRC Polytech is committed to providing excellent counselling service and support.

Click here to learn more about counselling here

Keep in mind, you are not alone. Growing and learning are important, but you need to allow yourself to pause, take a break, and then move forward.


关注国际留学生心理健康问题

作者简介:葛蓉(Angela Ge),现就读于红河理工学院语言中心,毕业于南京大学社会心理学专业。 在过去的三年,Angela曾就职于一家教育服务中心,协助和陪伴数百位国际留学生在温尼伯展开留学生活。如今,Angela计划学习医疗领域的相关课程,并且持续关注社区中个人心理健康问题。

对每一位国际留学生而言,海外求学永远是一项挑战。如果你是一名国际留学生,你是否有过如下的时刻?伤心失落却不能告知千里之外的父母,亦或者是某一个深夜,孤独和无措相伴?

造成国际留学生心理健康问题的最主要因素,是他们承担了太多的压力。因此,这需要我们更多的关注。

学业压力

一般来说,大部分的家长给予了过高的期待。他们希望自己的孩子能快速的适应非母语环境且取得完美的分数。可实际上,学生们需要更多的时间来习惯新的环境,因为他们目前正处于一个新的国家,会遇见不同的人,拥有不一样的生活方式。然而,当留学生们没有办法达到预期的目标时,他们就会被认为是努力不够。

经济压力

大多数留学生是需要家庭的支持才能支付学费和生活费的。相较于本地学生,他们的学费会高很多,所以需要省吃俭用来平衡学业和生活。

情绪和社交压力

这个问题存在于大多数的留学生当中。照顾我们的家人远在海外,愿意倾听的挚友不在身边。缺乏朋友和社交活动,使得留学生们越发觉得孤独。

我们可以做什么?

在这个特殊的时期,每个人都在寻求出路,留学生们需要我们更多的关注,尤其是他们的心理健康。每一位留学生都是勇敢和出色的,他们在海外求学和生活的行为值得我们称颂。但是,因为有一些不理解的声音存在,有些留学生在面临心理问题时,不敢寻求帮助,怕被别人瞧不起。

真心的希望,在求学的道路上,留学生们能安全和健康。这里有些小贴士可以帮助大家提高身心健康。

  • 养成良好的生活习惯

好的生活习惯对健康尤其重要。它们可以让我们有机会实现和维持我们的生活目标,比如定期锻炼和管理学习时间,同时提高生活质量。

  • 自我调整

在我们遇到困难的时候,让自己休息一下。在做出下一步行动之前,好好的考虑,做一个计划,或者静静的等待。

  • 保有充足的睡眠

睡眠可以让我们的身体和头脑在夜间充电。健康的睡眠可以减少压力和改善绪,考虑事情更清晰,在学校表现的更好,以及和他人友好相处。

  • 出门晒晒太阳

研究表明,曝露在阳光下,可以使大脑释放一种叫血清素的荷尔蒙。血清素与改善情绪、帮助我们感到平静和专注有关。

  • 活在当下

马斯洛(著名的心理学家)曾经说过:“活在当下的能力是心理健康的一个重要组成部分。”只有活在当下才能帮助我们获得真正的幸福、安宁和欢乐。

  • 在社区中寻求帮助

当你读这篇文章的时候,毫无疑问你已经是我们的一员。为了支持学生和教职员保持良好的精神和思想,红河理工学院致力于提供优秀的心理辅导服务和支持。

点击这里了解更多:    https://www.rrc.ca/counselling

记住,你不是一个人。成长和学习虽很重要,但是你需要允许自己停下来,休息一下,然后继续前行。

Cookies with Kerri- Creativity, Coping, and Cookies

December 20, 2021

The holiday season is the perfect time for gathering with friends, new and old, and sampling sweet treats.

This heart-warming combination came together in a special virtual event planned by RRC Polytech’s Language Training Centre (LTC) and Student Life as part of the Healthy Minds, Healthy College Strategy. 

“Cookies with Kerri,” hosted by Kerri Korabelnikov, dean for the School of Education, Arts & Sciences, saw 50 students register for an online chocolate chip cookie baking lesson. While everyone got to enjoy a tasty treat at the end, the aim of the event went beyond baking.

“This wasn’t about just chocolate chip cookies, it was about connecting with people and creating a community,” says Korabelnikov. “It was very energizing; everyone was laughing and having a lot of fun.”

Students now living in Winnipeg but originally from around the world, including Korea, Mexico, and Colombia, collected ingredient kits in advance. On a blustery December evening, they joined together to participate step-by-step in a two-hour online session, hosted by Korabelnikov and supported by Michelle Johnson, manager of Student Integration and Employment Outreach at the LTC.

Students were also encouraged to involve their children in the cookie-making class, which made the experience even more special, says Korabelnikov.

The online baking activity was a family affair for LTC student Heidi Novelo Poot and her eight-year-old daughter, Maya.

“It was something different that you can enjoy with the kids and meet other people,” says Novelo Poot. “She (Maya) was so proud, and I think that was the best part. And those cookies were very good, and the recipe was easy.”

Another student, Gabriel Novelo (no relation to Novelo Poot), has been in Manitoba since moving from Mexico in August and is taking classes with the LTC. Activities like “Cookies with Kerri” are a good way to connect with people, Novelo says, something that is more challenging in the middle of a pandemic.

“I wanted to participate with students from other classes. As a newcomer, I need to be in touch with as many students as possible,” Novelo says. “As a newcomer, you need to integrate and take part in all of the activities.”

For Novelo, who operated a food truck in Mexico, the experience marked another first.

“It was fantastic because I used to cook in my food truck, but I never baked. This was the first time I had the chance to bake something,” says Novelo, adding the cookies “magically disappeared” quickly.

In addition to building a stronger sense of community, there are other positive mental health benefits to activities like baking, says Pamela Villafranca, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC Polytech.

“We want to introduce students to different self-care activities. We may not think of it this way, but cooking, baking and prepping food can be a form of self-care; it can be therapeutic for some folks, the process of working with your hands, mixing the ingredients, and getting to sample the final product can feel really good,” says Villafranca. “This workshop promoted connection and community building, and taking a break from your studies to learn a new skill.”

Villafranca shares some key wellness tips to stay connected and support your mental health:

  • Find ways to stay connected with your peers and your instructors – join group chats, use instructor office hours, turn on your video in class, and participate, such as asking questions in class
  • Recognize that we need a variety of forms of self-care, and we may need varying types of self-care at different times of our lives
  • Try something new! Baking cookies is one example of a self-care activity that helps you get creative, learn something new, and work with your hands
  • Learn about the services that you can access for support, including the Mental Health Coordinator and Student Support Services department

Above all, Villafranca notes: “We want the students to know that staff and faculty are here for them, and we want to support them.”

To learn more about wellness initiatives at RRC Polytech, the Healthy Minds Healthy College Blog. 

You can also try out Kerri’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup white sugar 1 tsp baking soda
1 cup margarine or butter 2 tsp hot water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar 2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Mix white sugar, margarine or butter and brown sugar together
  3. Combine baking soda and hot water in separate dish
  4. Add baking soda/water, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour to sugar mixture and stir
  5. Stir in chocolate chips
  6. Form dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet
  7. Bake at 350F for 9 -11 minutes
  8. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and let cool
  9. Enjoy your delicious cookies

And feel free to reach out and let us know what you think!

Movies for Mental Health: You’re Invited!

September 24, 2018

Red River College is hosting a FREE event called “Movies for Mental Health,” an interactive workshop run by a non-profit called Art With Impact that uses the emotional power of short film to initiate dialogue with students on the topic of mental health.

This peer-to-peer learning event is two hours long and consists of pizza lunch, a facilitated discussion, three short films from Art With Impact’s library , and a resource panel with campus and community services.

Join us in creating a healthy environment at RRC through dialogue and growth!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 11am – 1pm in The Cave Lounge at NDC. Free pizza lunch for all who attend!

 

This event is sponsored by the Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative and RRC Students’ Association as we observe Mental Illness Awareness Week. All students and staff are welcome.

The Invisible Project

January 22, 2018

The following is a guest blog post by Austin Day, current RRC Photography student. 

I am in the process of creating “The Invisible Project.” It is a collection of photographs of people who are currently living with anxiety and/or depression. From the photographs, I will be putting together a photo album and promotional video for mental health awareness. Those who participate in the project may come back to do a video interview on their experience.

My own personal experiences inspired me to start this project. Close to 4 years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. I was very ill and spent a few days in the hospital. It was a life altering experience that flipped my whole world upside down.

Fast forwarding a year after my diagnosis I started experiencing a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. I was also experiencing burnout from my diabetes. Due to my anxiety, I was unable to cope at my job. I hibernated in my home for a long time. Though my mental state has improved immensely and my diabetes is well under control, I still worry about my health and wellbeing all the time.

My goals for this video is to bring awareness to mental health. I want to provide people with an opportunity to use their voice to share their stories with others. I am calling it The Invisible Project because quite often mental illness is not recognizable on the outside. I will use photography as a tool to show people how the world perceives them compared to how they see themselves. Everyone has their own unique beauty and I’m here to showcase that.

 

 

Guest Blog: Student Mental Health Story

May 3, 2017

The following is a guest blog from Laura McNaughton, Child and Youth Care student at the Notre Dame Campus.

 

Laura McNaughton, RRC Student

For a long time, I have felt like I’ve been living two lives. The life everyone else sees, and the life I see. These two lives are drastically different.

When I was in high school, I was known as the happiest kid in school. “She is always smiling”, “She’s so upbeat and happy”. I was sarcastic and witty and joyful, but as soon as I got home, I would sleep until the next day of school. Then I would put on my happy face again and be the other side of me. No one knew the side of me when I was alone. Even now, after I have told my story to others, they are shocked- they still always say to me “But you were so happy in high school”.

Laura’s original artwork.

Depression is like a paradox. You want the illness acknowledged, but at the same time, you also want to deny it. I guess I was in my denying stage at that time. Then I started to realize I was sinking way too far down into a hole. I was in a full blown depression, I was self harming, and to me that was my normal. I had people in my life who were there for me and helped me get through it, but it was still always there- like a friend that just won’t leave you alone. But they’re not really a friend, they’re this toxic being that helps to deteriorate you. I felt all alone, even though there were people all around me. And it took years for me to be able to look at myself and see someone who was worth being around, worth living, just worth it.

Mental health is a process….

Laura (left) helping bring therapy dogs to RRC as part of her student-led practicum in Child and Youth Care.

I am now 22 years old, and actually about to graduate the Child and Youth Care Program here at Red River College. For my last practicum in my course, I actually did this new, unique student led practicum. I was a mental health advocate, connecting with people and organizations all over the city, and helping to facilitate events. Some things I accomplished were; I helped bring therapy dogs to the college for students in exams, I joined an online peer support network, I joined the advisory committee here at the college, I went to mental health talks, created my own business cards and am currently working on my own mental health event. Basically, I did so much in this last 7 weeks that I am shocked. This is not where I thought my life would be.

Laura displaying her prescribed psychiatric medication.

I used to be anxious as all hell, and too depressed to get out of bed to come to school. I used to think I had no future, and I was not going to amount to anything. This last practicum has really helped me to flourish and become who I was meant to be. Mental health is something I am so passionate about, and because of that passion, I have seen my dream become a reality.

Don’t get me wrong- I still have my bad days, I’m still depressed and have those days where I can’t function, I am still anxious, I am on medication to help, but I have something in my life to look forward to. I have found something that gets me out of bed everyday- my passion for helping others.

Mental health is so important to understand, and I want all of us to be on the positive spectrum, but it is an everyday process. It is not something that is going to come easy for some, and that is ok. It is ok not to be ok! I want to be that support for people who feel so in the dark, they cannot see the light. I want to be that light for them.

I have and am currently struggling with a mental illness, but I am here to say, that it will not stop you from accomplishing what you want out of life. It might give you some hiccups here and there, but it is not your whole life. It is not you, it is a part of you- and you are strong and beautiful and amazing and you can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t listen to the lies your illness tells you, You can do it. I believe in you.

I used to be scared to talk about my issues openly, but if it can help someone else not feel alone then I am going to do it everyday for the rest of my life.

“I know its hard to understand, if its never happened to you, but just realize its important to talk about for someone to be able to get through

 

so lets start talking about mental illness – realize it is not a choice. these people are sick, and need more of a voice

 

We need to end the stigma around mental health, Stand up, make a change, and realize happiness is our greatest wealth”

 

-excerpt from poem by Laura McNaughton

If you would like to write a guest blog about your mental health journey, please contact Breanna, Mental Health Coordinator, at blsawatzky@rrc.ca.

Guest Blog: Student Mental Health Recovery Story

March 20, 2017

Below is a Gust Blog Written by Thania Bazan, RRC Student.

How Breathing Techniques Have Helped Me Deal with Physical and Mental Health

Hi! I am a second year student at Red River College Notre Dame Campus and enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Program. I am in my last term and will soon graduate.

In 2009, my life was very different from what it is right now. I had recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a physical condition in the body that brings pain and stiffness to the muscles. I had also been suffering from depression and anxiety for several years that took me to the Emergency room with suicidal thoughts. I received medication with antidepressants but even with the medication it was hard to feel completely happy and willing to go on with life.

In 2013, I was introduced to The Art of Living Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is present in over 150 countries around the world. This foundation offers a course based on powerful breathing techniques to help with anxiety, depression and different physical and emotional illnesses.

I attended a workshop for a weekend and learned how to practice the Sudarshan Kriya Breathing Techniques. After the first session of practicing Sudarshan Kriya, my body, mind and spirit felt more relaxed. I started practicing these techniques every day for a period of a year. After a year of practicing the breathing techniques, I got enrolled in Red River College, for the first time I felt confident I had a tool that would help me deal with stress, anxiety and depression.

I have been practicing Sudarshan Kriya for the last four years and have been able to see and feel the benefits of practicing these techniques in my daily life. When feeling stressed out, exhausted or simply needing to concentrate for a school assignment, I practice Sudarshan Kriya.

 

 

I would like to invite you to explore the option of practicing these breathing techniques for relaxation and awakening of your mind. The Art of Living foundation will be holding an information session at Red River College Notre Dame Campus for people interested in taking this workshop. More information about the information session will be posted on this blog soon!                

Sincerely,

Thania Bazan

If you’d like to write a guest blog please contact Breanna at blsawatzky@rrc.ca

Guest Blog: On Stigma and Mental Illness, From an RRC Alum

January 24, 2017

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Below is a guest blog from RRC alum Jennifer Schroeder who is a mother of two, living with mental illness.

We talk a lot about the stigma attached to mental illness and the ways in which we can break down those walls. Stigma is often the driving force behind many of the barriers individuals with mental health disorders experience. Today, I would like to talk a little about those barriers and how they can and do affect us in our daily lives.
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While we have made many strides toward creating a more accessible and inclusive world, we still have far to go. As a child, my inability to concentrate in school was written off as ‘problem behavior’, and so that label followed me. The trouble with labels, is if you are told something enough times, you start to believe that is all you are. Shame is a barrier to seeking help and in turn, getting better.

Just over a year ago, I had no choice but to leave my place of employment because of my health. Mental health in the workplace is largely misunderstood, and this exacerbates the vicious cycle of shame, guilt and self-doubt. Not being able to work outside of the home can be a huge financial barrier for many individuals and families and acquiring Employment and Income Assistance due to a disability requires overcoming many hurdles, with the potential to end up with nothing. When answering the phone or even dealing with a simple task such as paying a bill seems like too much to handle, 20+ pages of forms, doctors visits and assessments can feel insurmountable.

6ab159b83703494f162b75d06eb957f8As a parent suffering with mental illness, I have encountered many hurdles throughout my journey. Something as seemingly small as getting up and out of the house to bring my child to school can be incredibly challenging for me, and because no alternative options are available, sometimes she doesn’t go. My children miss out on a lot of things because I am just not healthy enough to handle it. My meal preparation often includes quick and easy processed foods because I lack the energy and motivation to cook homemade, healthy meals from scratch. My laundry piles up for days, sometimes weeks until I am left with no clean clothes. Sometimes my kids watch TV all day, because I can’t get off of the couch. Add social media with its constant barrage of curated lives and meme shaming and it is enough to make someone feel alone and dejected. This is the never-ending cycle so many of us face and don’t talk openly about.

136222017As a student dealing with mental illness, feeling like you cannot focus, retain information or keep up with your course load can be a major roadblock. Telling an instructor you couldn’t make a deadline because of a panic attack can feel humiliating. Maybe your mental health has even prevented you from pursuing higher education, preventing you from achieving your dream. All of these things are real and valid. We must find ways to adapt our education systems to set us up for success, not failure.

cropped-colour-fix-logo1There are so many unique barriers; I am unable to touch on them all. Everyone experiences mental illness in a different way and in turn will experience varying forms and degrees of difficulty. Mental health can affect every aspect of the life of the individual suffering, from relationships, to employment, to parenting, to mundane everyday tasks. To work towards inclusivity and accessibility in a world built for the mentally well; we need to refrain from assessments or judgments of ones abilities just because their illness is invisible. We need to re-evaluate our intentions when dealing with a friend, family member or co-worker dealing with mental illness. We need to listen to what they say and believe them.

Jenn

If you are an RRC student experiencing academic difficulties due to a mental health problem or illness, please contact Accessibility Services. You can set up an appointment here

How I Happy

October 5, 2016

Republished with permission from Cassandra Cardy, a student in Red River College Creative Communications program.

I dipped low this summer. I have dipped before in my life and usually justified the feelings of sadness and guilt with hormones or growing up.

I got up, left the house without saying goodbye to anyone like I was doing every day, and I got into my car.

I didn’t know where I was going but I had a phone number my friend gave me a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t live with myself another day. I don’t like saying “myself” because from February-August I was not myself. In fact, what I was experiencing was a deep longing for my old self. I missed her. I missed her like I missed a dead person, like she was never coming back. I don’t know how, when or why she left.

I drove down the highway toward town with nowhere to go. No desires. No wants. No purpose. Nothing was making me want to do this again tomorrow. There was no point to any of this.

I pulled into the truck stop I drive by every day for 20 years and parked in the foreign parking lot with semis and road-trippers using the bathroom.

I call the number for a mental health nurse my friend gave me. It rang and it rang and her friendly voice came on at the end and said to leave a message. I rested my head on the steering wheel.

Forty-five minutes later I was in Brandon putting a Toonie in a parking meter. I stepped around the smeared tent caterpillars on the sidewalk while walking to the downtown clinic.

I walked passed the brochures on suicide and abortion. I walked passed the pile of sticky Home Sense Magazine on the coffee table waiting room. A lady’s head stuck out from behind the admin counter and when she looked at me from over her glasses I began to sob.

“I need help.”

Read More →

Kieran Moolchan’s mental health story

December 10, 2014

Photo credit: Nolan Bicknell

Photo credit: Nolan Bicknell

Red River College student Kieran Moolchan is open and honest about his mental health struggles. In fact, he bravely told the whole world about his experiences with depression and contemplating suicide on his blog.

“I wanted to help breakdown stigma but I was also reaching out for help,” said Kieran. “I poured my heart out and with one click — I told everyone what was really going on with me.”

The beginning of a long-road

After going public on the Internet with his struggles in August, Kieran received an outpouring of support from friends, acquaintances, college instructors and even people he’d never met. At that time, he decided to seek help from a psychologist and began taking anti-depressants for depression.

Over the next few months, Kieran experienced many ups and downs. Eventually, he was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder — a condition that involves feeling ‘up’ for several weeks at a time and then crashing and feeling extremely low.

In January, Kieran began having suicidal thoughts again and turned to his blog to express how he was feeling. He wrote about how close he had come yet again to taking his own life and about the stigma people with mental illnesses face — a blog post that would receive more than 100,000 views.

Getting help

About a month later, Kieran spent some time at the Mental Health Crisis Response Centre at the Health Sciences Centre. It was there that it began to sink in that his mental illness was not his fault.

“I finally accepted that I wasn’t a personal failure for feeling the way I did,” said Kieran. “It sunk in that I don’t have control over the chemicals in my body. I also learned that the best thing I can do is come up with plans and that I need to rely on other people to help me make and stick to those plans.”

One day at a time

It’s been several months since Kieran’s visit to the Mental Health Crisis Response Centre and he is making and sticking to his plans. He’s also involving friends to help him stay accountable.

“If I want to go for a run, I’ll phone someone to go with me. If I feel like playing video games for an hour, I’ll text someone to see if they want to join me online. It doesn’t really matter what it is that I’m doing, as long as I commit to it, I’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, which helps with my mood and maintaining a positive outlook.”

And blogging?

He’s still at it — check out his latest posts at kieranmoolchan.com

Lauren MacLean: talking helps take care of my mental health

March 16, 2014

LaurenLauren MacLean is president of the Red River College Students’ Association. She is completing her second year of Business Administration with an accounting major. After receiving her RRC diploma she plans to continue her studies towards a Commerce degree. 

When Lauren MacLean, president of the Red River College Students’ Association (RRCSA) started feeling stressed out, she didn’t hesitate to do something about it. She called her friends and talked to them about what was going on in her life. When that didn’t translate into her feeling much better, she made an appointment with a counsellor.

“At one point, talking to my friends was actually making things worse for me because I was feeling guilty about going on and on about the same things, said Lauren. “It was a relief to talk to a counsellor because there were no expectations and I didn’t feel like I was burdening anyone.”

Reaching out for help

Lauren started seeing a counsellor in Counselling and Accessibility Services once a week. After working through her feelings and coming up with a plan for minimizing stress and other negative feelings, she didn’t need to visit as often. Now, she simply checks in when she feels she needs to — about once a month.

“I’m in a good place now. It’s not often that I have intense feelings of anger or frustration or lots of stress that I need to work through like I did when I first started going,” said Lauren. “What I get out of sessions now is mostly feedback about whether I’m on the right track with something or that my goals are realistic.”

Sometimes a fresh perspective from someone we aren’t close to is exactly what we need to move forward. It was, and still is, something Lauren finds helpful.

“When I talk to my counsellor, Chad, he asks questions and points things out that I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of on my own,” said Lauren. “This is great because in my role with the RRCSA, I need to examine issues and decisions from many angles and think about how they affect different people. This kind of thinking also comes in handy when I’m working with other students on group projects.”

A great resource for students

For Lauren, Counselling and Accessibility Services is a vital resource that more students should take advantage of.

“I don’t want any student to feel ashamed or weird about seeing a counsellor. The counsellors at RRC are free and honestly, they’re awesome. There is no one solution to coping with mental health issues — some people will find solace in drawing or spending time with their dog — but counsellors are one great resource that I highly recommend.”

Interested in scheduling an appointment?

If you’d like to make an appointment with a counsellor, complete the online intake form. Someone will be in contact with you to schedule an appointment.