Being a Mental Health Supporter
Faculty and Staff play a crucial role in addressing the growing mental health challenges that university students are facing. The Counselling Centre is able to assist many students and see that they get the support they need; however, there are many more students who do not reach The Counselling Centre’s doors for a variety of reasons, and that is where you can help.
Faculty and Staff:
- Serve as direct points of contact with students and have become front line service providers around mental health.
- Frequently, are the first to notice behavioural changes in a student.
As front line support, Faculty and Staff need the tools to help them identify students in distress, understand mental health and mental illness, and make appropriate referrals to free and confidential on campus services. Supporting students struggling with their mental health means helping a student graduate and fulfill the goals they have set for themselves. The sooner a student gets to an on campus support resource for assistance, the better the outcome.
Many students suffer in silence with their mental health issues and are afraid to disclose what is going on with them. At Saint Mary's, we want to encourage students to talk about and tell someone what they are feeling, so that we can help.
The modules have been designed to be helpful to all Faculty and Staff regardless of their position or field of study. By going through the modules, Faculty and Staff will be:
- Able to distinguish between healthy mental health and unhealthy mental health, along with identifying when a student may be at-risk.
- Provided a background and overview of what is mental health and mental illness.
The role of Faculty and Staff is not to diagnosis or counsel but lend their support, time, and understanding to help make a student feel heard, understood, and cared about. This is a very important role in normalizing and de-stigmatizing mental illness and assisting them in getting help. Letting students know that we all struggle - this is normal and a part of being human, as is asking for help when it's needed.
Being a mental health supporter means you know about mental health, mental illness, and mostly importantly, know it is ok to talk about.