STAND FOR ACADEMIC FLEXIBILITY
Research shows that academic pressure and financial stress are the two major stressors for students. We acknowledge that students have a variety of ways of learning and expressing their learning. Incorporating more flexibility and accessibility in academic policies can better support students' learning and mental health.
INCORPORATE DIFFERENT INTERSECTIONS
Mental health does not stand on its own, separate from other issues. Racism affects mental health. Homophobia affects mental health. Financial insecurity affects mental health. So do sexism, colonialism, LGBTQ+ issues and more.
BUILD COMMUNITY ON DEPTH
We talk about depression and anxiety. We don’t talk about trauma, or panic attacks, or suicide as much. We aim to build a community of open vulnerabilities in hopes to fight shame. Shame paralyzes us. It prevents us from healing together. Let's talk about and explore the depths of mental health.
My name is Ji-Youn and I'm a former UBC student. After 3 years of studying in the sciences and the arts, I dropped out of school in April 2016 due to mental health struggles with clinical depression, PTSD and suicidal ideation.
The night of my last final exam, I wrote a blog post and shared it on Facebook. I no longer wanted to feel the heavy shame every time I explained to someone why I was dropping out. And so I wrote about the anxiety attacks from exams, the damaged academic pride and self-worth, and the societal expectations placed on young adults in college. For my surprise the post resonated with many fellow students.
Hundreds of people read my story in the following days. The general response was: I went through this, I am going through this, or I know someone who is going through this. Initially, I felt grateful and less alone. But then the overwhelming emotions were shock and frustration. If this was such a common issue, why was no one talking about it? Why did I have to feel so alone and shameful this past year?
And so I started to talk to people: both current and former students:
What would an ideal university environment that supports student mental health look like?
If you are struggling/have struggled with mental illness, what would (have) help(ed) you?
These discussions have led to The Tipping Point, an organization that hopes to eventually encourage post-secondary institutions to make systematic change in better supporting student mental health.