On your academic journey and throughout life, there will be goals you’ll want to accomplish. This is great! Everyone should have a goal, something that keeps them motivated and ready to tackle the next day. However, if your physical and mental health is not protected and worked on, to the best of your ability, achieving those goals starts to become more difficult.
During your time at Saint Mary’s University, you are provided with numerous resources to help build healthy responses and coping mechanisms along with intervention to help if it is needed.
Mental Health Roadmap
I thought this was a really cool innovation when I first came across it. The Counselling Centre at Saint Mary’s University compiled a two-page pdf document that maps out all of the support services available to the students both on and off-campus. It might be useful to have this document on you at all times. You should also store the emergency numbers listed in your phone and memorize them if possible.
At the counselling centre, you work with professionals to help achieve your mental health goals. Students at Saint Mary’s University are given up to 8 sessions in an academic year. Utilize those sessions before seeking outside counsellors. They are paid for by your tuition so make the most of it.
Student Health Plan
If you have not opted out of the student health plan then you are eligible for health coverage in several areas. This is a resource all students should utilize if their previous insurance plans are no longer applicable or aren’t as comprehensive. Were you prescribed medication to manage the negative symptoms of your mental health condition? Without insurance, this can become really expensive to get and can result in students no longer continuing with the care prescribed by a medical professional. Possibly the student needs access to a psychologist, social worker or chiropractor. These are all potential services someone with a mental health condition may need access to but they can be very costly. With the student health plan, coverage for these services ranges from 50-100%. So read the conditions of your student plan to see what services you can access at lower costs to you.
This is the one-stop-shop for online mental health resources available to all post-secondary students. HealthyMindNS provides five services all of which are free. Getting help for your mental health shouldn’t be hindered due to financial circumstances but many times it is. This is having access to these free resources now as a post-secondary student should be utilized because they may no longer be free once you leave the university bubble. The services provided are:
TAO Self-Help – provides interactive modules that help the users understand and manage how they feel, think and act.
7 Cups – Need to just vent to someone? 7 Cups facilitates online peer support chats that are anonymous and confidential so students can just log on and rant about their day to their peers. Sometimes saying everything in your head can make the thoughts less overwhelming.
Kognito – Monitoring your own mental health is important but so is being aware of those around you. Kognito provides simulations that train faculty, staff and students on recognizing when someone may be in psychological distress and how to approach them. Watching out for the people around you, even strangers is the kind thing to do and might help someone.
Crisis Text Line – By texting GOOD2TALKNS to 686868 students in Nova Scotia are connected with a trained Crisis Responder regardless of the day, time or hour. This crisis responder will listen and support the student with any issue they’re facing. This service is free and confidential.
Good2Talk – By calling 1-833-292-3698, students are connected to a free, confidential helpline with a professional counsellor on the other side. This counsellor can provide support for a range of topics such as anxiety, financial services and relationship challenges.
Wellness Together Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult for many people in various ways. All of these factors led to a spike in mental health and substance use concerns in Canada. This resource isn’t specific to Saint Mary’s University or to students but it was recommended by the university because it is genuinely an amazing resource. Through Wellness Together Canada’s website, there are 5 services you can utilize. This is 100% up to the user’s preference. The support services consist of free videos and articles that help readers learn more about managing their mental health. An example of this is an article published on abdominal breathing. The skills you learn from the articles or elsewhere, you can actively practice those skills through apps and programs. They also provide the option to connect with peers along with calling a counsellor. The last service is the ability to track your progress.
I know what you’re thinking.
This seems weird. Or that was probably just my initial thought.
The idea of quantifying how I felt icky for lack of better words but I gave it a shot to be fair. My findings are, the wellness journal seems like an amazing approach to achieving your mental health goals. This confidential tool prompts users to measure and track their wellness over time which allows the user to check-in and notice how this score changes over time. Sometimes people on their journey of better mental health might forget about all the progress they made and negative thoughts start to creep up again.
With the wellness journal, you can see it all right there which is strangely motivating. I finally understand why gym bros track their progress.
Even though Saint Mary’s University strives to provide mental health support for their students, it cannot do it alone. This is why students should use the online resources endorsed by the university in conjunction with the services provided by the university.
Take care and stay safe.