Mental health problems and the college student – more common than you might think

By Jillian Trainor
Feb. 4, 2014

Three per cent of people in Canada struggle with chronic mental illness but it mostly affects most people between the ages of 24-44, said Reid Burke from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

On Feb. 3, he was part of a presentation hosted by Holland College event to provide information to students to help them with mental health and manage stress.

Paul Murnaghan, program manager for Applied Science and Technology, Computer and Visual Arts programs said the whole thing started back in November at a Professional Development committee meeting. From there, it was applying for funding, confirming Mental Health, getting the space, and securing a motivational speaker.

“We thought about a motivational speaker, and ‘how can we make it educational?’ As a staff, we certainly noticed an increase in mental health topics.”

Murnaghan thinks the most important thing is bringing some topics, like the stigma of mental illness, to the forefront and putting a face on mental health.

“We’re certainly hoping that it will provide students with some education, some terminology, and if they are struggling, where to go, where to get help.”

While many were impressed with the presentation, for some, it fell a little short.

“It was longer and drier than it needed to be, I found,” said student Tim Francis-Pranger.

“It’s good that people are there to talk about it out in the open, but I feel like the presentation itself was kind of boring.”

He said it could have been more interactive.

“They could ask us questions about our experiences. It felt like another lecture where they were just drilling us with information.”

Murnaghan said even if the presentation only helped one person, he would consider the event a success.

“They’re not the only ones dealing with it and it’s not the stigma that it used to be.”

Francis-Pranger said he was glad they took the afternoon to do the presentation.

“I’m glad they’re actually taking the time to come to us and talking to us about mental health because it’s something that gets glossed over a lot.”