SPREAD AWARENESS ON UBC’S EFFORTS
UBC has been doing a lot of great work on trying to better support student mental health - on many levels. Because we believe that hope is crucial in the wellbeing of the student population, we aim to advertise the efforts made by UBC, as well as other Canadian universities
ADVOCATE FOR ACADEMIC FLEXIBILITY
We need to work on preventive factors such as creating more academic flexibility in academic policy. This means pushing for university-wide systematic change. Represent and build community amongst former students who have been forced out of the system or those who are currently struggling to continue their studies due to their mental health.
BUILD A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
We talk about depression and anxiety. We don’t talk about trauma, or panic attacks, or suicide as much. We want to build a community of open vulnerabilities in hopes to fight shame. Shame paralyzes us. It prevents us from healing together. Lets build a community of people talking about and exploring 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 advocacy movement that encourages post-secondary institutions to make systematic change in better supporting student mental health.